An average of more than 41,000 women age 35 and over die of breast cancer each year in the U.S. The annual number of breast cancer deaths among women of this age have remained remarkably consistent over the past 15 years. However, the rate of death for breast cancer has been declining. Since 1987, the age-adjusted breast cancer death rate among women age 35 and up has dropped by one-third, from 66.8 deaths per 100,000 women to 46 per 100,000 in 2013, the last year national data are available.
Early detection has likely played a role in the decline in breast cancer mortality, as mammography and other screening has been on the rise. Since 1987, the percentage of women 40 years of age and up who have had a recent mammography (within the last 2 years) has more than doubled – from 29% in 1987 to nearly 66% in 2013.
Breast cancer remains the 2nd leading cause of cancer death among all women, behind lung cancer.