October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

04 October 2021

Breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, and October marks a month of awareness for the disease.

In 2020, 2.3 million people were diagnosed with breast cancer globally, which now puts the disease ahead of lung cancer as the most common cancer diagnosis. In the same year worldwide, there were 685,000 deaths from breast cancer.

Here in the UK, there are around 55,000 new cases diagnosed every year. The latest figures show that incidence of breast cancer diagnosis grew by 23% between 1993 and 2017, with a 4% drop between 2014 and 2017. Rates for male breast cancer have remained stable for the past two decades.

The good news is that survival rates for breast cancer are typically high, with 9 in 10 surviving one year after diagnosis, and 85% surviving beyond five years since their diagnosis. 75.9% those diagnosed will survive for 10 or more years after their diagnosis. It’s thought between 23%-37% of breast cancer cases can be prevented with lifestyle changes.

In 2020, we paid out 578 breast cancer-related critical illness claims, and 347 breast cancer-related life claims. 2020 saw huge impacts to cancer diagnosis and care due to Covid-19. Estimates suggest that around 11,000 people are now living with undiagnosed breast cancer, and around 10,600 fewer patients have started their breast cancer treatment in England due to disruptions by Covid-19.

For more information including signs, symptoms and support, Breast Cancer Now is the UK charity leading the October national campaign.