22 October 2021

Analysis of the latest NHS Digital figures by UK charity Breast Cancer Now reveals that breast cancer is once again the most commonly diagnosed cancer in England.

In 2019, NHS Cancer Registration Statistics show that 48,387 women and men in England received a devastating breast cancer diagnosis, compared to 47,479 people diagnosed with prostate cancer, the second most common cancer in England.[1]

Alarmingly, the charity warns that annual cases of breast cancer have increased by nearly a fifth (18%) in the last decade.[2]

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“That breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in England is a timely but frightening reminder during Breast Cancer Awareness Month of how far breast cancer is from being ‘a done deal’. In England over 48,000 people were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019.

“Over the past 19 months, the pandemic has had major impacts on breast cancer treatments and services, making the already difficult experience of a breast cancer diagnosis even harder for people living with this devastating disease. The pandemic has prompted a sharp rise in calls to our free Helpline and emails to our Ask Our Nurses service from people with the disease who are struggling emotionally – many share with us that the loneliness they’ve felt due to living with breast cancer during the pandemic has been the hardest emotional impact to cope with, and that it’s negatively impacted their mental health.

“It’s more crucial than ever that, as many of us look to a ‘new normal’ beyond the pandemic, we acknowledge the ‘loneliness legacy’ for people who’ve lived with breast cancer through the pandemic and ensure that everyone affected by breast cancer gets the support they need. Whether that’s speaking to someone with shared experience of the disease or to our expert nurses Breast Cancer Now is always with you to support you in every way we can. Call our free, confidential Helpline on 0808 800 6000 to speak to one of our expert nurses.”


Notes to editor

[1] Cancer Registration Statistics, England 2019. (2021). NHS Digital. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/cancer-registration-statistics/england-2019 

[2] Analysis of Cancer Registration Statistics, England 2019. In 2019, 48,387 people were diagnosed with breast cancer in England compared to 40,926 in 2009. An increase of 18%.