Cancer Cure And All Clear
Many people who have cancer want to know if theyre cured. You may hear words like cure and all clear in the media.
Cured means theres no chance of the breast cancer coming back. However, its not possible to be sure that breast cancer will never come back. Treatment for breast cancer will be successful for most people, and the risk of recurrence gets less as time goes on. Recurrence, unfortunately, can happen even many years after treatment, so no one can say with certainty that youre definitely cured.
All clear, or in remission which is another term you may have heard used, means theres no obvious sign of cancer at the moment.
If your breast cancer has spread to other parts of your body this will affect your prognosis. Secondary breast cancer can be treated, sometimes for many years, but not cured. Find out more about secondary breast cancer.
In order to be as clear as possible, your treatment team is more likely to talk about your chances of survival over a period of time or the possibility of remaining free of breast cancer in the future.
What Is The Effect Of Mammography Screening
Following the introduction of the mammography screening programme in Germany for women between the ages of 50 and 69 years , diagnosis rates in the corresponding age group initially rose sharply. Since 2009, however, they have been declining continuously and in 2016 were only slightly higher than before the screening programme. A recent publication shows that, in the screening age group, about 25 percent fewer women are diagnosed with advanced tumours than before the introduction of screening. Mammography screening also appears to have had an impact on breast cancer mortality: since around 2008 the mortality rate has developed much more favourably in the screening age group than in women under 50 or over 70.
Estimated age-standardised incidence rates of breast cancer in women eligible for mammography screening and other age groups , Germany 1999 2016, per 100,000
Progress in therapy has substantially improved the survival chances of people diagnosed with breast cancer, and this has led to a decrease in mortality rates as well. Within a few years time, it should be possible to assess the extent to which screening has brought about a further reduction.
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What Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer
Also known as metastatic breast cancer, the cancer in this stage has spread beyond the breast, underarm and internal mammary lymph nodes to other parts of the body near to or distant from the breast. The cancer has spread elsewhere in the body. The affected areas may include the bones, brain, lungs or liver and more than one part of the body may be involved.
At stage 4, TNM designations help describe the extent of the disease. Higher numbers indicate more extensive disease. Most commonly, stage 4 breast cancer is described as:,
- T: T1, T2, T3 or T4 depends on the size and/or extent of the primary tumor.
- N1: Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
- M1: The disease has spread to other sites in the body.
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The Surveillance Epidemiology And End Results Program
NCIs Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program collects and publishes cancer incidence and survival data from population-based cancer registries that cover approximately 35% of the US population. The SEER program website has more detailed cancer statistics, including population statistics for common types of cancer, customizable graphs and tables, and interactive tools.
The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer provides an annual update of cancer incidence, mortality, and trends in the United States. This report is jointly authored by experts from NCI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Cancer Society, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
Survival For All Stages Of Breast Cancer
Generally for women with breast cancer in England:
- Around 95 out of every 100 women survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
- Around 85 out of every 100 women will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis
- Around 75 out of every 100 women will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis
Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019Office for National Statistics
These statistics are for net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of cancer patients after taking into account that some people would have died from other causes if they had not had cancer.
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What Are Cancer Survival Statistics
A key part of making a prognosis is looking at survival rates. These are numbers researchers collect over many years in people with the same type of cancer. These numbers are based on large groups of people. For breast cancer, there are two main measurements:
Breast cancer survivalrates reflect the percentage of women who are alive 5 years or longer after their diagnosis. This means the numbers are based on women who were found to have breast cancer at least 5 years ago. Advances in diagnosing and treating cancer have led to steadily improving survival rates, so the outlook for women diagnosed today is likely better.
Relative survival rates dont take into account the cause of death. Theyre a measure of the percentage of people with cancer who have lived for a certain time after diagnosis, compared with people who did not have cancer.
How Is Metastatic Breast Cancer Treated
The main treatment for metastatic breast cancer is systemic therapy. These therapies treat the entire body. Systemic treatments may include a combination of:
Your care team will plan your treatment based on:
- Body parts cancer has reached.
- Past breast cancer treatments.
- Tumor biology, or how the cancer cells look and behave.
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How The Research Was Conducted
The report specifically focuses on:
- female breast cancer survivors who are living with a diagnosis of cancer, including those who have recovered from the disease
- the link between diet, weight, physical activity and the likelihood of female breast cancer survivors dying from breast cancer, second primary breast cancer , or any other disease.
Breast cancer survivors are defined in the report as women who have received a diagnosis of breast cancer from the point of diagnosis, through and after treatment.
For the report, the global scientific research on diet, nutrition, physical activity and female breast cancer survivors was gathered and analysed, and then independently assessed by a panel of leading international scientists in order to draw conclusions about surviving breast cancer and reducing the risk of a second primary breast cancer.
Additional Insights On Metastatic Breast Cancer Recurrence
CS Breast Cancer Facts and Figures 2013-14Breast Cancer Survival and Stage at Diagnosis Relative survival rates are an estimate of the number of patients who will survive for a given time after a cancer diagnosis. It differs from observed survival in that it accounts for deaths from other causes by comparing among cancer patient to survival among people of the same age and race who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Based on the most recent data, relative survival rates for women diagnosed with breast cancer are:
- 89% at 5 years after diagnosis
- 83% after 10 years
- 78% after 15 years
Of course, women keep dying of MBC longer than 15 years after their initial diagnoses, notes Musa Mayer, patient advocate and Member, Steering Committee, Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. According to SEER statistics: 18-year relative survival for patients diagnosed from 1990-1994 is 71% which takes us really close to the 30% figure. However, its important to bear in mind that none of these patients would have been offered Herceptin, not even in the metastatic setting. With adjuvant Herceptin cutting recurrence rates in half, this is a big difference. Fewer hormonal options existed as well.
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What Does Surviving Cancer Mean
Google surviving and youll likely find this definition: Continuing to live or exist, especially in the face of hardship.
Through my own cancer battles and in talking with those impacted by cancer, Ive found that this word means many things to many people. When I asked what surviving means within the medical community, my doctor said surviving cancer meant:
- Youre still alive.
- Youre going through the steps from diagnosis to treatment.
- You have multiple options with the expectations of positive results.
- Youre striving for a cure.
- You arent expected to die.
When speaking with fellow cancer warriors in my many times in the hospital waiting room, I found that they often had a different definition of what it meant to survive. To many, it simply meant:
- waking up each day
- being able to get out of bed
- completing activities of daily living
- eating and drinking without vomiting
Ive talked with hundreds of people undergoing treatment over the past 40 years in my journey with different bouts of cancer. The severity and type of cancer aside, Ive found that my survival has also depended on factors beyond the disease itself, including:
- my treatments
- my relationship with my doctor
- my relationship with the rest of the medical team
- my quality of life outside of my medical conditions
Many people over the years have told me that surviving simply means not dying. Many said they never considered there was anything else to consider.
Breast Cancer Stats In Australia
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. Approximately 55 Australians are diagnosed each and every day. That equates to over 20,000 Australians diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
1 in 7 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
About 1 in 700 men are diagnosed in their lifetime.
In 2021, over 3000 Australians passed away from breast cancer including 36 males and 3102 females.
Thats 9 Australians a day dying from the disease.
In the last 10 years, breast cancer diagnosis have increased by 36%.
Since the National Breast Cancer Foundation started funding in 1994, the five-year survival rates have improved from 76% to 91%.
Weve come a long way. But theres still progress to be made.
Thats why were committed to funding a broad spectrum of research to help understand risk factors, develop new ways to detect and treat breast cancer, improve quality of life for breast cancer patients, improve treatment outcomes and ultimately save lives.
Our mission: Zero Deaths from breast cancer by 2030.
The risk of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime is 1 in 7. The majority of breast cancer cases, about 80%, occur in women over the age of 50.
But breast cancer still occurs in young women, with close to 1000 women under the age of 40 projected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2021.
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What Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Australia and the second most common cancer to cause death in women, after lung cancer.
Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of the cells lining the breast lobules or ducts. These cells grow uncontrollably and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body. Both men and women can develop breast cancer, although it is uncommon in men. Transwomen, non-binary people can also get breast cancer.
Transgender and gender-diverse people can also get breast cancer. A transgender woman taking medication to lower male hormones and boost female hormones may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
It is estimated that 19,866 women and 164 men in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021.
In Australia, the overall five year survival rate for breast cancer in females is 91%. If the cancer is limited to the breast, 96% of patients will be alive five years after diagnosis this figure excludes those who die from other diseases. If the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, five year relative survival drops to 80%.
Treatment depends on the extent of the cancer.
Improving Your Quality Of Life
Quality of life is a term that is used a lot with metastatic disease, but it should be a common term for others too. I always go by the life motto of, Enjoy life. I do not take this lightly. I know there will come a time where I wont be able to do what I am capable of doing today. This can all drastically change even in a week. Shoot, I could even be dead in a week. Cancer progression is a scary concept. At any point, the cancer can spread to other places or grow bigger in the same locations of the body, such as the lungs, brain, liver, and bones. So, I must do as much as I can while I can, until I cant.
To other people living with metastatic disease, my advice would be to live life on purpose the way you desire. Dont let others place what you should be doing onto you. If you want to eat cake today, eat cake, because tomorrow you may not have an appetite. If you want to travel and the risk is lower and the benefit is higher, then travel.
The only thing guaranteed in this world is death. So, until that day has come for me, Ill live it up and do what gives me joy despite all the everyday stressors. I read daily inspirational writings on how not to care so much what others think of me. I am genuinely me.
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Where Do These Numbers Come From
The American Cancer Society relies on information from the SEER* 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.
Early Detection Is Important
Early detection is important with some cancers. In general, earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better your chances may be for remission or long-term survival.
Early detection may include regular checkups, but it’s most important to not ignore warning signs your body may be giving you. Learn about the signs and symptoms of cancer, both those that are common and those that are uncommon. If you note any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider. Symptoms, such as pain, are our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. If you have any unexplained symptoms, consider getting a second opinion.
While there has been some controversy over screening for prostate cancer and even breast cancer, we’ve learned that colon cancer screening, as well as lung cancer screening in former and current smokers, can significantly decrease the death rate from these diseases.
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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.
Incidence And Survival Rates
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 180 countries worldwide. Between 2008 and 2012 breast cancer incidence increased by 20 per cent, while mortality has increased by 14 per cent. In the US, it is estimated that there are currently 3.1 million breast cancer survivors.
Overall survival rates for breast cancer vary world wide, but in general survival rates have improved. This is because the majority of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at an earlier and localised stage, and improved surgery and adjuvant tailored treatment regimes are available. In many countries the five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with Stage I/II breast cancer is 8090 per cent. If it has reached the distant stage the survival rate falls to 24 per cent. The five-year prevalence of breast cancer per 100,000 is 665 in Western Europe, 745 in North America, and 170 in Eastern Asia.
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Being Your Own Advocate
While there arent currently any studies looking at self-advocacy and survival, being your own advocate cant hurt in maximizing your survival. Oncology is changing rapidly and its difficult for any oncologisteven those who specialize in breast cancerto stay aware of all of the latest research and clinical trials taking place.
It can be helpful to research your cancer yourself. Becoming involved via social media such as Twitter is also an excellent way to learn about the latest research, using the hashtag #bcsm, which stands for breast cancer social media.
Getting a second opinion can be helpful as well, especially from one of the larger cancer centers such as a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.
There are ways to learn about opportunities, however, that dont require traveling for opinions. There are now clinical trial matching services in which a nurse navigator can help to match your particular tumor and characteristics with clinical trials in progress all over the world.
Several of the larger cancer centers are now also offering remote second opinions, in which an oncology team can review your medical information and talk to you on the phone about whether there are any opportunities for treatment for you that may not be available elsewhere.