Latest Statistics of Breast Cancer in India

Understand the Rising trends of Breast Cancer


The number of women being newly detected with Breast Cancer in India is fast rising, no doubt about that. Also, India has a predominantly younger population, so we are bound to see more breast cancer cases in younger women, no doubt about that either. This section has a wealth of information related to statistics about Breast Cancer in India. In brief, we have the following topics, discussed in length (ours is probably the only website from India to discuss this data which many other Indian sites openly copy paste without permission) in this section:

Sources of Indian Breast Cancer Statistics

All the data, figures and graphs on breast cancer in India that have been represented on this website have been sourced from the following sources or websites:

How to navigate this section on statistics:

To make it easier for you to read topics in this section, we have 'numbered' all the topics, which will tell you which section you are reading. This 'numbered' menu can be found at the bottom of the page. The sections are as follows:


Am I worried about the trends of breast cancer in India? Yes, very much. But can we change the trend? No, of course not. But what we can definitely change is our 'ignorance', our 'lack of awareness'. You will understand what I mean, from the discussions in this section. Breast cancer is a global disease. Though the majority of underlying causes, and other features are usually uniform around the world, every region has its own uniqueness for that cancer. Let us assess the trend of breast cancer in India, under the following headings:

Increasing Incidence of BC in Younger Age Groups (30s and 40s)

In India, we are now witnessing more and more numbers of patients being diagnosed with breast cancer to be in the younger age groups (in their thirties and forties). Please consider the adjoining graph (This is only a rough representation of the data, for your understanding, the data used for this representation are rough estimates):
The horizontal line lower down represents the age groups: 20 to 30 years, 30 to 40 yrs and so on. And the vertical line represents the percentage of cases. The blue colour represents the incidence 25 years back, and maroon colour represents the situation today. 25 years back, out of every 100 breast cancer patients, 2% were in 20 to 30 years age group, 7% were in 30 to 40 and so on. 69% of the patients were above 50 years of age. Presently, 4% are in 20 to 30 yrs age group, 16% are in 30 to 40, 28% are in 40 to 50 age group. So, almost 48% patients are below 50. An increasing numbers of patients are in the 25 to 40 years of age, and this definitely is a very disturbing trend.
Of course, one particular reason for higher numbers of younger patients is our population pyramid, which is broad at the base and middle and narrow at top, which means that we have a huge population in the younger age group and much lesser in older age group..

Increasing Incidence of Breast Cancer in India

Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in India, both in cities as well as in rural areas:

  • Initially, before the 2008 statistics, cancer of the Cervix was the most common cancer in women in India and Breast cancer was second most common.

  • When the 2008 statistics came out, Breast Cancer overtook Cervical cancer as the most common cancer in Indian cities. But Cervical cancer was still common in rural areas.

  • And with the 2012 statistics report, Breast Cancer in India made a huge jump - Breast Cancer became the most common cancer in women in India, the most common cancer both males and females combined, the most common cancer in cities in India and the most common cancer in rural areas as well. The the numbers rose so rapidly, that the difference on numbers between breast and cervical cancer was quite stark. In most Indian cities, Breast Cancer amounted to almost 25 to 32 percent of all cancers in women, whereas Cervical cancer was around 8 to 9 percent.

  • And the numbers are just going on rising. You can read a detailed analysis and discussion on present numbers of breast cancer in India in the section

The Upper Image shows a bar graph about percentage distribution of top ten cancers in females in Mumbai, for the year 2006 - 2008. You can clearly note how common was breast cancer then, was back in 2008. And today, as of May 2020, this number has only risen much more.
The Lower Image shows trend of breast cancer in a few cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram and Dibrugarh. Of course, this graph is old, upto 2006 only but still it shows the rising trend in all cities.

Lesser Survival from Breast Cancer in Indian Women

Consider the adjoining image. This was published by ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology)in 2009, and shows the improvements in the overall five year survival for various cancers in the United States.
The details of ASCO article cited above, can be found HERE . If you see, the over all 5 year survival for breast cancer has increased from 75% in 1970's to almost 89% in 2005 (According to recent US SEER data, the five year overall survival in US is now more than 95%). This means that, out of every 100 women with breast cancer in the US, 95 women are likely to survive for atleast 5 years (And most of them will cross 10 years and 15 years and 20 years as well). There are barely any similar statistics for India available, but a rough estimate from the PBCR and HBCCR reports is that, the 5 years survival for Breast Cancer in women in India is not even 60%.
Why is the survival in India so low? Because, most women come to a doctor in advanced stages, and in cancer, the more advanced the stage, the lesser the survival.
Why do they come in advanced stages? Because, they are not 'aware'. Most women do notice symptoms of breast cancer - for example - a painless lump in the breast. But they do not know that this could be cancerous - they are not 'aware'. So they wait and ignore. Ultimately, the cancerous lump increases a lot in size and also spread, when finally they realize something is wrong, and come to a doctor. By then, it is fairly late.


If you have read all the above points, they are all pointing to one necessity - 'Detect Breast Cancer Early'. Since the number of cases are rising, more younger women are getting affected, most are presenting only after symptoms develop (so usually stage 2B and beyond, rarely earlier stage) and we cannot prevent this cancer, all we can do is to detect this cancer early. Breast Awareness is the way to go, you can read about it in detail in the section on Early Detection of Breast Cancer.