Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Ask your doctor about their thoughts on your 1, 2, 5 and 10 year survival rates to get a personalized estimate. The numbers on this site are survival rates based upon cases of other people with this type of cancer. Use these numbers to ask your doctor what would make your outlook the same or different.
Tip: Use the drop-down at the top of the page to change the survival length from 5 year to 1, 2 or 10 year.
Reviewed by Aaron Simon M.D. Ph.D, Radiation Medicine, UC San Diego
What is Stage and why do I need to know it?
Cancer Stage is a number, typically from 1 to 4, measuring the size of the cancer tumor and if the cancer has spread. Stage 1 means the cancer hasnÃ¢t spread to other parts of the body, while stage 4 means that it has. Stages 2 and 3 are somewhere in between. Survival rates are typically lower for higher stages.
What is Grade and why do I need to know it?
Some cancers also have a grade. The grade indicates how fast the cancer is growing. Well differentiated means the cancer cells are more like normal cells and growing slower. Poorly differentiated means the cancer cells donÃ¢t look like normal cells and growing faster. Moderately differentiated grade means the cells are somewhere in between well and poorly differentiated.
What is Histology and why do I need to know it?
Bottom line, confirming stage and grade of cancer with your doctor is important for understanding prognosis and discussing treatment options.
Where Do These Numbers Come From
The American Cancer Society relies on information from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, maintained by the National Cancer Institute , to provide survival statistics for different types of cancer.
The SEER database tracks 5-year relative survival rates for breast cancer in the United States, based on how far the cancer has spread. The SEER database, however, does not group cancers by AJCC TNM stages . Instead, it groups cancers into localized, regional, and distant stages:
- Localized: There is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the breast.
- Regional: The cancer has spread outside the breast to nearby structures or lymph nodes.
- Distant: The cancer has spread to distant parts of the body such as the lungs, liver or bones.
Breast Cancer In The United States
- 254,744 women in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, and more than 42,465 women died of it.1
- For the last 10 years, the rate of new breast cancer cases has increased.2
- Death rates have been going down, but disparities persist.2 The rate of new breast cancer cases is highest among non-Hispanic White women, but death rates are highest among Black women.1
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Factors Influencing Metastatic Breast Cancer Prognosis
There are several factors that can impact the prognosis of metastatic breast cancer, these include:
- Hormone receptors on cancer cells
- The type of tissue involved
- The number of tumors/extent of metastasis
- A persons overall attitude and outlook on the prognosis
Of course, no factors can accurately predict the exact prognosis for a person with metastatic breast cancer. These statistics are based on many clinical research studies, looking at survival rates for people diagnosed with breast cancer at all stages. But the prognosis of each person is different, regardless of what the statistics indicate.
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The Best Way To Survive Breast Cancer: Catch It Early
When breast cancer is caught early, the survival rate is nearly 100 percent, and the five-year relative survival rate of women with localized cancer, an early stage of the disease, is 99 percent. So it’s important to get regular breast screenings.
An initial baseline mammogram is recommended for women when they reach age 40, regardless of their risk factors, followed by annual screening mammograms
In this video, University Hospitals breast radiology specialist Donna Plecha, MD, explains the importance of early detection of breast cancer and the process of getting a mammogram.
To schedule a mammogram at UH Seidman Cancer Center today, call
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Survival Statistics For Breast Cancer
Survival statistics for breast cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular persons chances of survival.
There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for breast cancer and what they mean to you.
Is Breast Cancer A Death Sentence
Breast cancer is curable, its okay to be afraid to get screened but dont let fear cause you to lose your life. Breast cancer doesnt have to be a death sentence. Read on breast cancer, go and get screened by a medical professional at least once a year, learn to examine your breast by yourself and do it regularly.
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What Is A 5
A relative survival rate compares women with the same type and stage of breast cancer to women in the overall population.For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of breast cancer is 90%, it means that women who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as women who dont have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.
Examples Of Mortality Rates Versus Number Of Deaths
Say, town A has a population of 100,000 and town B has a population of 1,000. Over a year, say there are 100 breast cancer deaths in town A and 100 breast cancer deaths in town B.
The number of breast cancer deaths in each town is the same. However, many more people live in town A than live in town B. So, the mortality rates are quite different.
In town A, there were 10 breast cancer deaths among 100,000 people. This means the mortality rate was less than 1 percent .
In town B, the mortality rate was 10 percent .
Although the number of deaths was the same in town A and town B, the mortality rate was much higher in town B than in town A .
Lets look at another example. In 2022, its estimated among women there will be :
- 100 breast cancer deaths in Washington, D.C.
- 730 breast cancer deaths in Alabama
- 4,690 breast cancer deaths in California
Of the 3, California has the highest number of breast cancers. However, that doesnt mean it has the highest breast cancer rate. These numbers dont take into account the number of women who live in each place. Fewer women live in Alabama and Washington, D.C. than live in California.
Other factors may vary by place as well, such as the age and race/ethnicity of women. So, to compare breast cancer mortality rates, we need to look at mortality rates.
In 2022, the estimated mortality rates are :
- 25 per 100,000 women in Washington, D.C.
- 21 per 100,000 women in Alabama 22
- 19 per 100,000 women in California 20
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Breast Cancer Detection: How It Is Found And The Importance Of Early Detection
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in women, with the American Cancer Society estimating there to be approximately 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women in the United States.¹ Although the ACS reports that breast cancer death rates have decreased since 1989, they still estimate around 43,250 women will die of breast cancer in the US in 2022.
Detecting and diagnosing breast cancer early is the most effective way to reduce mortality rates. However, patients may not have all the information they need about whether they are at risk, when they should get checked, and the different ways breast cancer can be found. Healthy communication between health care professionals and patients on these topics can be helpful in educating patients. What can you tell your patients about breast cancer, specifically regarding early detection and the ways it is diagnosed?
The High Cost Of Breast Cancer
- 13% of all cancer treatment costs in the United States are for breast cancer.9
- Breast cancer has the highest treatment cost of any cancer.9
- The amount that patients pay for breast cancer care can vary widely depending on insurance coverage. A typical woman with employer-sponsored coverage who is diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer can expect to pay $5,800* out of pocket, including premiums.10
- On average, cancer survivors have annual losses in work productivity that are more than $1,000* higher compared to people without a cancer history.11 Some cancer survivors are not able to return to work, while others report not being able to perform all tasks because of illness or distress.
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Can You Live 10 Years With Metastatic Breast Cancer
Doctors used to consider metastatic breast cancer , or stage 4, as rapidly progressing in all instances.
Now as many as 10 percent of people with stage 4 breast cancer can achieve long-term and relapse-free survival. This is because of new targeted treatments, like human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 drugs.
Stage 4 is cancer thats spread outside of breast tissue and nearby lymph nodes to other locations in the body.
Understanding more about manageable stage 4 cancer can help doctors know who can benefit from aggressive treatment. There are three categories of information that doctors assess:
- patient characteristics
, the chance of a woman dying from breast cancer is about 2.6 percent.
Breast cancer is common, but in many cases, its curable if its detected early.
Your outlook for breast cancer is better with early detection. Even so, there are people who survive metastatic disease.
According to the ACS , the 10-year relative survival rate for women with breast cancer is 84 percent, and the 15-year survival rate is 80 percent. These statistics include all stages of cancer.
Its important to remember that long-term statistics include people who received their diagnoses many years ago. This means that these statistics dont reflect the more recent improvements in cancer treatment.
The Benefits Of Using Proven Strategies
More breast cancer screening would:
- REDUCE deaths. Compared to no screening, screening every 2 years reduces breast cancer deaths by 26% for every 1,000 women screened.4
- INCREASE life expectancy. Women who are screened every 2 years can expect to live 1.4 months longer than women who are not screened.4
- the number of women diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Screening has contributed to a 29% reduction in the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.5
- INCREASE 5-year survival rates. Almost 99% of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage live for 5 years or more, compared to about 27% of those diagnosed at the most advanced stage.2
- SAVE money. Breast cancers diagnosed at an early stage are much less expensive to treat than those diagnosed at a late stage.6,7
About 5.3% of US women aged 40 to 64 were eligible for NBCCEDP breast cancer screening services during 20162017. The program was able to serve 15% of eligible women during this time.8
How Is Breast Cancer Detected
The ACS recommends that women with an average risk of breast cancer start screening in the range of 40 to 44 years, and those with a more advanced risk of breast cancer start screening at age 30.² Consistent screenings are the most effective way of spotting breast cancer early, and knowing in advance what types of tests may occur may put patients more at ease. Here are some of the most common ways patients get screened for breast cancer.
Screening For Breast Cancer
Women aged between 50 and 74 are invited to access free screening mammograms every two years via the BreastScreen Australia Program.
Women aged 40-49 and 75 and over are also eligible to receive free mammograms, however they do not receive an invitation to attend.
It is recommended that women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, aged between 40 and 49 or over 75 discuss options with their GP, or contact BreastScreen Australia on 13 20 50.
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Relative Survival Rate By Stage
The survival rates by stage are based on the stage at the time of diagnosis. Youâve probably been given a number and letter for your cancer stage. Here, the terms localized, regional, and distant are used instead of numbers and letters. Hereâs what they mean and the 5-year relative survival rates for each:
- Localized breast cancer is only in the breast. This includes stage IA , some IIA , and some IIB . The 5-year relative survival rate is 99%.
- Regional breast cancer has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes. This includes stage IB , some IIA , some IIB , and all stage III . The 5-year relative survival rate is 86%.
- Distant breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This includes stage IV, pronounced âstage 4â). The 5-year relative survival rate is 28%.
What Is My Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer
The American Cancer Societys estimates that roughly 13 percent of US women will get invasive breast cancer in their lifetimes. The ACS also estimates the lifetime risk of breast cancer deaths is 3 percent of American women.
Your breast cancer risk varies by age and race or ethnicity:
- Age: Cancer detection and death rates increase as you age. Half of the women diagnosed with breast cancer are 62 or younger, and women in their 70s are at the highest risk due to age.
- Race/ethnicity: Non-Hispanic white women have the highest cancer rate per 100,000 , and non-Hispanic black women follow closely . African American/Black women have the highest death rate per 100,000 , while Asian/Pacific Islanders have the lowest incidence and death rates.
Breast density is also a risk factor. Dense breasts have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue and little fat. Women with dense breasts are at a higher risk of breast cancer.
Dense breast tissue also makes screening mammography harder to interpret. However, research has found that 3D mammogram finds more cancers than traditional 2D mammograms.
This is because 3D takes three-dimensional pictures by capturing low dose images of the breast from varying angles. As a result, the radiologist can see up to 300 pictures, as compared to just four from a regular 2D mammogram. This prevents cancers from being hidden by dense breast tissue.
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The Breast Health Program At Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
If you develop breast cancer, there’s a team of specialized cancer experts in your corner. At the Breast Health program at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, you’ll find a multi-disciplinary approach to treating all types of the disease. After you receive your diagnosis, you’ll begin meeting with a team of people that may include breast and reconstructive surgeons, medical and radiology oncologists, and physical or occupational therapists, among others.
A diagnosis may feel overwhelming at first, but you can expect our large, experienced team to deliver the best care available, both in treating the breast cancer cells and in supporting you physically and emotionally as you recover.
If you haven’t been diagnosed, be sure to schedule your annual mammogram to give yourself the best chance of catching cancer early. And if you notice any breast changes, don’t wait. Be your own health advocate and make sure to mention any concerns to your healthcare provider as soon as you notice them.
What About Breast Cancer In Men
The stages of breast cancer relate to how much the cancer has grown and how far its spread. Generally, the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the higher the chances for long-term survival.
|Stage 0||This is a precancerous stage with no invasive cancer cells.|
|Stage 1||The tumor is small and localized to the breast. There may be a small amount of cancer in nearby lymph nodes.|
|Stage 2||The tumor is still localized to the breast but is larger and may have spread to several nearby lymph nodes.|
|Stage 3||This stage includes cancers that have spread to the skin, chest wall, or multiple lymph nodes in or near the breast.|
|Stage 4||This is metastatic breast cancer, meaning its spread to one or more distant parts of the body, most commonly to the bones, lungs, or liver.|
The stages of breast cancer are based on the following factors:
- whether the lymph nodes contain cancer cells
- whether the cancer has metastasized, meaning its spread to other, more distant parts of the body
Since 2018, the following factors have also been used to determine breast cancer stage:
- whether the cancer cells have hormone receptors and need estrogen or progesterone to grow
- whether the cancer cells have the HER2 protein that helps them grow
- tumor grade, meaning how aggressive the cells look under the microscope
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Survival Rates For Breast Cancer Are High
When caught early, the disease is highly treatable. Breast cancer survival rates estimate the percentage of women who can be expected to survive five years or more after diagnosis. For early-stage and localized cases, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent according to theSEER database, which tracks cancer statistics nationwide. For women with stage III cancers, the five-year survival rate drops slightly to 86 percent. The survival rates drop further for metastatic breast cancers, with approximately one-third of women with stage IV diagnoses surviving the five-year mark.
Did you know #BreastCancer survival rates are high, when detected early? In this blog, breast surgeon Dr. Patricia Wehner shares 5 things you should know about the disease: https://bit.ly/3rmaj5x.