Facts & Figures

General Statistics on Breast Cancer

Most women hear and read that one out of eight women suffers from breast cancer, after she used to read in the past 10 to 20 years that the ratio was 1/13 and later 1/10. These figures cause fear and panic but the truth is that one out of eight women is at risk to get breast cancer throughout her lifetime. Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer among women. The risk of developing breast cancer is serious and varies accord- ing to age, and if breast cancer is discovered at an early stage, the percent- age of total cure could be more than 90%

Statistics on breast cancer in the Arab World and across the world

Breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer among women, with a percentage of 22% of the total cases. In 2000, the number of cases was estimated at 597,000 cases in advanced countries and 471,000 in developing countries. Though these figures are close, there remain disparities between countries, particularly regarding the age of the patient and the stage of the disease when discovered.



In Lebanon, the population of which counts 4.0 million people, and where the number of new cancer cases varies between 3,500 and 4,000 each year in the 1980s of the last century, and went up to about 8000 new cases per year in the 2003 and 2004 statistics of the ministry of health, breast cancer constitutes 35% of all women’s cancers. We have proven in our studies that in our countries, there is high percentage of women below the age of 50 and even below 40 years who are affected by breast cancer.


In 1966, the incidence rate was 20 new cases of breast cancer per 100.000 women per year, and increased to 69 new cases per 100.000 women per year in 2004. Regarding age, in the United States, 50% of new breast cancer cases oc- cur among women above the age of 65. However, in Lebanon, many Arab countries and third world countries, many cases occur among younger women. In Lebanon, 49% of new cases are diagnosed among women un- der the age of 50. While the average age is around 62 in the United States of America, Europe and Australia, in Lebanon and most Arab countries and South America, it is around 52 only. With respect to the stage of the disease, in developed countries, breast cancer is discovered at early stages and precancer, while in developing countries, a large number of patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage in breast or spread in different parts of the body.


New statistics from the Ministry of Public health in Lebanon show that the number of new cancer cases in 2016 has approached 12,500 new cases. However, this number includes Lebanese patients and also Syrian and Iraqi patients who come for treatment in Lebanon. The ASR standardized incidence rates do not change much because it takes into account that the total population of Lebanon adds up to 6.2 million including all refugees and displaced people who estimates all causes in Lebanon to be 17294 for 2018. These numbers are worrisome and need to be checked by an updated Lebanese Cancer Registry.
However, new research from Lebanon shows that there is a decrease in advanced cancer and increase in early stage breast cancer because of awareness campaigns and screening. Therefore, more patients are treated without removing the whole breast, and 90% of earlystage breast cancer patients are survivors and well at more than 5 and 10 years.