Skip to main content

It's Giving Tuesday! Double your impact and donate today.

Breast Cancer Research Highlights 

The American Cancer Society (ACS) helps people with breast cancer in every community. Our research programs have played a role in many of the prevention, screening, and treatment advances that save lives from breast cancer today. And, we continue to fund research to help save even more lives in the future.

Current Status - In Brief

Breast Cancer Continues to Increase

Since the mid 2000s, slight increases in breast cancer incidence rates may be partly due to more women having obesity, fewer children, or their first baby after 30.

Risk & Prevention Studies

Breast Cancer Genetic Studies

The ACS Cancer Prevention Studies have played a role in identifying or validating every known common genetic variant for breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. We've collaborated with scientists across the United States to analyze large compilations of data. We're helping make discoveries about the genetics of cancer that have the potential to improve screening guidelines, lead to new targeted therapies, and inform follow-up care after cancer treatment."

Alpa Patel, PhD

Senior Vice President Population Science

American Cancer Society

asian woman wearing turquoise patterned shirt

Glossary for Nonscientists

Featured Term:
Cancer Predisposition Genes

Genes that are vulnerable to cancer-causing changes (mutations), which are sometimes inherited from a parent. Several dozen cancer-predisposition genes have been identified, and about 5% to 10% of all cancers result directly from those inherited. 

For example, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are inherited cancer predisposition genes, and mutations on them increase the risk of developing certain cancers, including breast, ovarian, and prostate.

Screening & Early Detection Studies 


Access to Digital Mammography in the US:
A Study in Pictures

Examining how quickly, and where, new medical technologies get adopted can provide insights into potential disparities in health care. That’s why American Cancer Society (ACS) researchers Daniel Wiese, PhD, and Farhad Islami MD, PhD, worked with other researchers from Maine, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania to study how geographically widespread digital mammography has been adopted in the United States. (Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington DC were not included in the study.)
This video quickly demonstrates their findings. 
map of US spatial diffusino of digital Mammography (2001-2014) US map with orange and green circles and X

Play the video to see how the availability of digital mammography (the green dots) increased across the US from 2001 to 2014. The orange X’s show where digital mammography technology is available with a longer drive. Orange dots represents access to film-only mammography.

Read on to learn more about the findings of this study. 

Striking Breast Cancer Statistics About . . .

The Value of Mammograms


women who are screened for breast cancer who have an abnormal mammogram


women with abnormal mammograms who have cancer

Racial Disparities


increase in breast cancer incidence rates on average each year since the mid-2000s


how much more likely Black women are to be diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (which is hard to treat) than other racial and ethnic groups


how much higher the breast cancer death rate is for Black women than for White women - even though the incidence rate is lower in Black women


breast cancer research grants


funding for breast cancer research

We Fund Cancer Researchers Across the US

The ACS funds scientists who conduct research about breast cancer at medical schools, universities, research institutes, and hospitals throughout the United States. We use a rigorous and independent peer review process to select the most innovative research projects proposals to fund. 

The grant statistics to the left are as of August 1, 2023.

See more funding stats.