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Breast Cancer

Understanding the key facts and figures about breast cancer research.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women. It is estimated that 27,400 women will be diagnosed with cancer in 2020. While five-year survival rates are relatively high compared to other cancers – approximately 88 per cent – some 5,100 Canadian women are expected to die from breast cancer in 2020. 

There are many types of breast cancer and each varies in risk. Some are extremely aggressive and lethal and have no known cures, while others require invasive treatments that often yield life-altering side effects. In other cases, moderate therapies may be sufficient to defeat the cancer and avoid relapse. Differentiating aggressive cases from moderate ones early on is essential to providing personalized treatment plans that are effective and that don’t have unnecessary impacts on a patient’s quality of life.

High prevalence rates, a relative inability to differentiate aggressive cancers from moderate ones early on, and limitations in the treatment of aggressive tumours make breast cancer a pressing health issue in Canada.

Our Research Strategy

Given these challenges, the Terry Fox Research Institute has embarked on a multi-pronged strategy to fund the best breast cancer scientific teams and programs in the country.

In 2019/20, 7 per cent of all money invested by the TFRI supported breast cancer research, for a total investment of $1.5 million.*

To allocate its resources, the Institute has international experts evaluate the excellence and the potential for impact of all its research projects. This approach distinguishes our research investment strategy from all others in Canada and allows donors to be confident that their investment is supporting the top 5% of Canadian researchers and their science.

*Our scientific discovery projects are interdisciplinary by design and often focus on more than one cancer type. The figures listed above are an estimate and should not be taken as exact figures.