Facts and Figures


      • Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among women in Ireland.
      • Irish women have a 1 in 10 chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime (i.e to age 79).
      • Over 3,000 women were diagnosed annually with breast cancer from 2016 to 2018.
      • About 700 women die from breast cancer annually.
      • While the incidence of breast cancer is rising, mortality rates are decreasing.
      • Almost 40,000 women in Ireland are living following a breast cancer diagnosis.
      • Mammographic screening is effective in reducing breast cancer mortality rates and women should participate in breast screening from the age of 50.
      • 26% of all invasive breast cancers in Ireland are diagnosed through screening.
      • The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age: 23% of women diagnosed are under 50, 41% aged 50 to 64, 36% over 65 (2015-2017).
      • About 30 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.
      • The incidence of breast cancer in Irish women is higher than the European average, as is the mortality rate*.
      • Mortality has declined by almost 2% per annum from 1994.
      • There has been a consistent increase in the proportion of women diagnosed at Stage 1, up from 20% in 1994 to 33% in 2012.
      • Among women from the most socioeconomically deprived 20% of the population, incidence is lower but survival is also lower.
      • Women from the most deprived group are less likely to be diagnosed at Stage 1 and more likely to be diagnosed at Stage 4.

* While Ireland has had excellent cancer registration since 1994, many countries have very limited or incomplete cancer registration, so cross country statistics should be treated with caution.

Figures for 2018 are estimated.

And elsewhere

      • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. In 2012, 1.7 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Since 2008 incidence has increased by more than 20%, while mortality has increased by 14%.
      • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in European women with an estimated incidence in WHO Europe region of 562,500 in 2018. Incidence in the EU-28 in 2018 was estimated to be 404,920.
      • Breast cancer claims the lives of more European women than any other cancer – an estimated 150,700 in the WHO Europe region in 2018 and 98,735 in the EU-28.


Walsh PM, McDevitt J, Deady S, O’Brien K & Comber H (2016) Cancer inequalities in Ireland by deprivation, urban/rural status and age: a report by the National Cancer Registry. National Cancer Registry, Cork, Ireland www.ncri.ie

Cancer in Ireland 1994-2016 with estimates for 2016-2018: Annual Report of the National Cancer Registry. National Cancer Registry, Cork, Ireland (2018) www.ncri.ie

EUROPA DONNA - The European Breast Cancer Coalition  website www.europadonna.org

(accessed 2/6/2019).

Subscribe to our newsletter

Follow us on social media

Scroll to Top