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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. In Canada, an estimated one in eight women will develop it in their lifetime, and one in 31 will die of it. While five-year survival rates are relatively high compared to other cancers – approximately 87 per cent – some 4,900 Canadian women died from breast cancer in 2017. 

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 2017/18, 8 per cent of all money invested by the TFRI supported breast cancer research, for a total investment of $1.7-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.