According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer mainly occurs in middle-aged or older women. In fact, the median age at the time of a breast cancer diagnosis is 62.
Though it’s possible for women far younger than 62 to be diagnosed with breast cancer, the ACS reports that only a verysmall number ofwomenyoungerthan45arediagnosed with the disease each year. Despite the average age of onset being over 60, breast cancer is highly treatable. The World Health Organization notes that breast cancer treatments routinely achieve survival probabilities of 90 percent or higher. However, those probabilities decline considerably in lower-income countries where access to screening and other medical services is limited. For example, the WHO notes that five-year survival rates for breast cancer routinely surpass 90 percent in high-income countries like the United States and Canada. However, those rates are as low as 40 percent in South Africa, where early detection of the disease is less likely than it is in wealthier nations. That disparity in survival rates underscores the need for greater resource allocation in lower-income countries, but also highlights the effectiveness of screening and other measures in highincome countries where women are taught to report any abnormalities with their breasts.