Norelle Done | HealthGreatness

Hundreds of thousands of American women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Since approximately 1600 BC – the oldest known description of breast cancer – it has afflicted men and women alike. Other than lung cancer, breast cancer is responsible for more deaths in women than any other cancer.

hands holding pink breast cancer awareness ribbon

Various cancer-study foundations and research organizations have been studying the mortality rate of breast cancer patients over the last 50 years, and particularly since the mid-1970s. While diagnoses tended to increase between 1975 and 1985 – fluctuating ever since – mortality rates have been slowly diminishing since the early 1990s, according to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The patient’s age and race/ethnicity has been found to trend toward higher and lower mortality rates after cancer diagnosis. According to the American Cancer Society, “Breast cancer incidence rates are higher in non-Hispanic white women than African American women for most age groups. However, African American women have a higher incidence rate before age 40 and are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age.”

The following are the breast cancer mortality rate* by year dating back to 1999, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Nearly 22 women in every 100,000 diagnosed died from breast cancer in 2010 (21.9 per 100,000).
  • In 2009, 22.2 women in every 100,000 diagnosed with breast cancer died.
  • For every 100,000 women diagnosed, 22.6 women died from breast cancer in 2008.
  • Approximately 23 patients in every 100,000 diagnosed passed away in 2007.
  • A rate of 23.6 in 100,000 patients died from breast cancer in 2006.
  • 24.1 patients in each 100,000 diagnosed died in 2005.
  • Deaths of breast cancer patients in 2004 numbered 24.5 in every 100,000.
  • In 2003, approximately 25.3 breast cancer patients in every 100,000 diagnosed passed away from the disease.
  • About 25.6 in every 100,000 breast cancer patients died in 2002.
  • In each 100,000 breast cancer patients diagnosed, 26 died in 2001.
  • More than 26 in every 100,000 breast cancer patients died in the year 2000 and also in 1999(26.6).

* Age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. 

The estimated deaths of breast cancer patients in 2014 are 40,000.

Although thousands of women (and men) die as a result of breast cancer each year, there is hope. The National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) catalogued the 5-year relative survival of female patients diagnosed with breast cancer from 1975 through 2006. In 1975, the 5-year relative survival rate for a woman diagnosed with breast cancer was 75.2 percent. By 2006, that rate increased to 90.6 percent.