Breast cancer is a common malignancy among women worldwide. Regardless of the economic status of a country, breast cancer poses a burden in prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Developed countries such as the U.S. have high incidence and mortality rates of breast cancer. Although low incidence rates are observed in developing countries, the mortality rate is on the rise implying that low- to middle-income countries lack the resources for preventative screening for early detection and adequate treatment resources. The differences in incidence between countries can be attributed to changes in exposure to environmental risk factors, behaviour and lifestyle factors of the different population groups. Genomic modifications are an important factor that significantly alters the risk profile of breast tumourigenesis. The incidence of early-onset breast cancer is increasing and evidence shows that early onset of breast cancer is far more aggressive than late onset of the disease; possibly due to the difference in genetic alterations or tumour biology. Alternative splicing is a pivotal factor in the progressions of breast cancer. It plays a significant role in tumour prognosis, survival and drug resistance; hence, it offers a valuable option as a therapeutic target. In this review, the differences in breast cancer incidence and mortality rates in developed countries will be compared to low- to middle-income countries. The review will also discuss environmental and lifestyle risk factors, and the underlying molecular mechanisms, genetic variations or mutations and alternative splicing that may contribute to the development and novel drug targets for breast cancer.