Breast cancer is the most common cancer globally – a fact made more alarming when we consider this harrowing distinction is based solely on female breast cancer rates.
Responsible for 11.7% of all worldwide cancer diagnoses (or 2.26 million women), female breast cancer claimed the lives of 685,000 women in 2020. In contrast, according to 2019 figures, 25,100 men were diagnosed with breast cancer, leading to 12,100 deaths globally. (Source: BCUK)
Advances in medical science mean female mortality rates in high-income countries have decreased since the mid-1980s by 40% – or an annual reduction of 2–4%. If a similar drop were to occur worldwide over the next two decades, an estimated 2.5 million lives could be saved. (Source: WHO)
However, it is worth noting that rates of breast cancer are also increasing. In England, for instance, rates in women have doubled over the last 50 years. (In men, rates have actually remained stable for the past couple of decades). (Source: BCUK)
So, although more women are surviving breast cancer, rates are climbing. That makes any efforts to raise awareness about prevention, treatment and support all the more vital to help turn the tide.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout October represents a major effort to improve and save the lives of millions around the world.
That’s made all the more clear by studies that show at least 30% of cases are preventable, meaning knowledge of what lifestyle alterations reduce the risk has the potential to save countless lives.
The biggest recognised way to reduce the chances of breast cancer is physical activity – a significant risk factor that can be decreased through awareness. However, funding for new research and treatments is also where the major need resides.
Below are just a few of the most recent scientific advances in the battle against breast cancer.
touchONCOLOGY supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month and its global effort to educate more people on the symptoms and treatments available for breast cancer. Visit our library of video interviews, conference highlights and journal articles for the latest developments in oncology.