A review of patient records at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston showed that more women with breast cancer live at least 10 years after diagnosis now compared with 60 years ago.
For example, between 1944 and 1954, around 1 out of 4 women with breast cancer survived at least 10 years after diagnosis. Researchers estimate that around 3 out of 4 women with breast cancer who were diagnosed from 1995 to 2004 will live at least 10 years after diagnosis. The number of women living 10 years after diagnosis has increased for all stages of breast cancer in the past 60 years.
The researchers think that these improvements in survival are because of better detection, such as screening mammography to help find cancer at an earlier stage when it is easier to treat, and better chemotherapy and surgical treatments that can help lower the risk of the cancer coming back after treatment.
What this means for patients
“If a patient's cancer is appropriately managed, the patient has a much better chance of surviving breast cancer today than they would have had 30 or 20, or even 10 years ago, because the therapies are constantly evolving and improving,” said lead author Aman Buzdar, MD, Professor of Medicine and Breast Medical Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Although this study only looked at patients from one cancer center, many of these advances in care, such as mammography, and chemotherapy, are regularly used to diagnose and treat breast cancer throughout the United States.
What to ask your doctor
- What type of breast cancer do I have?
- What is my prognosis (chance of recovery)?
- What are my treatment options?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- What clinical trials are open to me?
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