Will I Die Of Breast Cancer
This is a difficult question to answer early in your cancer care but it is still worth asking. Many people just diagnosed with cancer have no idea how much of a risk to their life their unique situation poses. Most breast cancers carry a low risk of recurrence, especially early-stage cancers. The answer is usually reassuring.
Inherited Breast Cancer And Risk Reduction
Family history is a known risk factor for breast cancer, with elevated risk due to both increasing number and decreasing age of first-degree relatives affected. For example, in a large, population-based study, risk of breast cancer was increased 2.9-fold among women whose relative was diagnosed prior to age 30, but the increase was only 1.5-fold if the affected relative was diagnosed after age 60 years.90 While twin studies indicate familial aggregation among women diagnosed with breast cancer, identification of true germline mutations, including BRCA1, BRCA2, p53 , PTEN , and STK11 , are quite rare, on the order of 5%-6%.91–93 However, the management of young women at an increased risk of developing breast cancer via a germline mutation requires careful consideration, as screening, risk reduction, and implications for relatives are of upmost importance.
What Is Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Before discussing how invasive ductal carcinoma is staged and what those stages mean, it may be helpful to explain exactly what this malignancy is.Invasive ductal carcinoma involves the ducts that carry milk from the lobules to the nipples. The malignancy develops when cancerous cells form in one of these ducts and then spread to the surrounding tissues or lymph nodes. Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of breast cancer, accounting for approximately 80% of the total number of cases.
Invasive ductal carcinoma can cause the following symptoms:
- A lump within the breast or the underarm area
- Pain or swelling in one breast
- Redness or a rash on a breast
- Dimpling around a nipple
- Inward turning of a nipple
- Discharge from a nipple
- Other changes in the size, shape or feel of a breast
These symptoms can be difficult to notice, especially when invasive ductal carcinoma hasnt yet progressed past its early stages, so its important to perform monthly breast examinations and consult with a physician about any noticeable changes, even if they appear minor.
Notably, many individuals with invasive ductal carcinoma also have ductal carcinoma in situ , a type of noninvasive breast cancer that occurs when cancerous cells remain confined to the milk duct rather than spreading to nearby tissues. Although DCIS is often considered to be precancerous and preinvasive, it can become invasive and begin spreading to surrounding tissues if left untreated.
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Breast Cancer Diagnosed During Or After Pregnancy
Being pregnant at the time of diagnosis of breast cancer has been associated with a worse outcome. In one study of 797 such cases, compared with 4,177 non-pregnancy-associated breast cancer controls, women diagnosed while pregnant had larger, more advanced tumors, a greater incidence of receptor-negative tumors, and a higher death rate .15 A smaller study found no association between pregnancy and increased mortality.76 In contrast, pregnancy and childbirth following a diagnosis of breast cancer do not increase mortality, and actually may improve survival. One study found that 438 women age < 45 years at diagnosis, who delivered a child 10 or more months following a diagnosis of breast cancer, had a decreased relative risk of death , compared to women who did not bear children following diagnosis. Women who were pregnant at the time they were diagnosed had a mortality rate similar to the latter group. This suggests that childbirth following breast cancer diagnosis does not increase mortality.76
Breast Cancer Stats In Australia
Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. Approximately 57 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 600 men are diagnosed in their lifetime.
Around 1000 young women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, equivalent to about 3 young women each day.
In 2022, over 3,200 Australian will pass away from breast cancer . Approximately one woman under the age of 40 is expected to die each week from breast cancer.
Thats 9 Australians a day dying from the disease.
In the last 10 years, breast cancer diagnosis have increased by 33%.
Since the National Breast Cancer Foundation started funding in 1994, the five-year survival rates have improved from 76% to 92%.
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.
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From Cured To Stage 4
Others, like Teri Pollastro, a 54-year-old stage 4 patient from Seattle, respond surprisingly well.
Diagnosed with early stage ductal carcinoma in situ in 1999, Pollastro underwent a mastectomy but did not receive chemotherapy, radiation or tamoxifen, since her cancer was ER negative.
âThey used the C-word with me, they told me I was cured,â she said. âEvery time I went back to my oncologist, he would roll his eyes at me when I had questions.â
In 2003, Pollastro switched to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance where she saw Dr. Julie Gralow, a breast cancer oncologist and clinical researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Gralow discovered Pollastroâs cancer had metastasized to her liver.
âMy husband and I were in shock,â said Pollastro of her mets diagnosis. âYou donât go from being cured to stage 4.â
Pollastro went on Herceptin, a type of immunotherapy for women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, and did six months of chemotherapy.
âI felt better right away with the treatment,â she said. âBut the problem is, it stopped . Thatâs what you can expect with mets. And thereâs always some residual cancer. And that starts percolating.â
And along with mets, she also had to deal with many misconceptions regarding her disease.
The Mercer Island, Washington, mother of two, who often counsels newly diagnosed patients, sometimes even found it difficult to relate to early stage breast cancer survivors.
If Im 70 Or Older Will Invasive Breast Cancer Be Fatal
Though a cancer diagnosis is scary at any age, older adults may feel more vulnerable. But Tran says there are reasons not to panic.
In patients 70 years old or older, most of the time, the invasive cancer is hormone receptor positive, which means it is a slower-growing cancer.
Most patients treated for invasive breast cancer survive, she says. Even when you are diagnosed at an older age, you can successfully complete your therapy, go on living and eventually die from causes other than breast cancer.
This is especially true for those who are in good general health at the time of their diagnosis and who are able to care for themselves.
Probability Of Cancer Progression
How long the remission period can last is one of the most frequently asked questions by patients with stage 4 breast cancer. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors that come in.
First, tumors may have a different tendency to grow. Slowly growing tumors mean longer remission and longer life expectancy. Second, age is important. In young patients, cancer tends to be more aggressive and resistant to treatment. Third, the localization of metastases plays an important role. Metastasis to bone or lymphatic tissue is a more prognostic option for treatment than lung, liver, and especially brain damage.
Another very important factor is the tumors responsiveness to the therapy. In women with hormone-positive breast cancer, in which the tumor reacts well to hormone therapy, life expectancy can be 10-15 years, even taking into account the 4th stage of the disease. For comparison, the life expectancy of patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer is only one year.
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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.
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What Is Stage Ii
In stage II, cancer cells have spread or have been found in lymph nodes or axillary lymph nodes, located around the armpit near the breastbone. Like stage I, itâs also separated into two groups, Stage IIA and IIB, depending on how large of a tumor is found and where and how much the cancer cells have spread.
âWe basically need to know how big and if the tumor or cancer cells have spread to any lymph nodes, this will help us understand how and where to treat the patient,â Cruz said. âBut as with any stage, even if itâs spread, I tell my patients to remain calm so we can discuss how to fight against the cancer.â
In stage IIA, if a tumor isnât found, cancer cells are commonly found in one to three axillary lymph nodes, Cruz said. If there is a tumor, itâs usually not larger than two millimeters and has also spread to the lymph nodes.
In stage IIB, either a tumor or small cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes. If it hasnât spread to the lymph nodes, the tumor is usually larger than five millimeters.
Checking The Lymph Nodes
The usual treatment is surgery to remove the cancer. Before your surgery you have an ultrasound scan to check the lymph nodes in the armpit close to the breast. This is to see if they contain cancer cells. If breast cancer spreads, it usually first spreads to the lymph nodes close to the breast.
Depending on the results of your scan you might have:
- a sentinel lymph node biopsy during your breast cancer operation
- surgery to remove your lymph nodes
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Outlook By Seer Stage
In the United States, healthcare professionals typically calculate the outlook for people with cancer using the SEER database.
All cases of stage 2 cancer are localized or regional, with cancer that has not spread beyond the breast tissue or nearby lymph nodes.
The relative survival rate for people with cancer compares their likelihood of survival during a given period with that of the general population.
For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a stage of cancer is 90%, people with that stage of cancer are 90% as likely as people without cancer to live for a minimum of 5 years after diagnosis, according to the
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be frightening and overwhelming. However, it is important to get as much information as possible about the cancer itself, the next steps, and the treatment options available.
What Is Stage 0
Stage 0 is the least invasive stage of breast cancer and usually detected early in patients, according to the American Cancer Society. In this stage, cancer cells or non-cancerous abnormal cells are only in the part of the breast in which they formed and havenât spread.
âAt this stage of breast cancer, we tell patients not to be too worried. Stage 0 is extremely treatable and we ask people not to shed a tear over the diagnosis just yet,â said Cruz.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Stage Ii Breast Cancer
- Lump in the breast or under the armpit
- Thickening or swelling of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Pain in the nipple area or the breast in general
- Discharge from the nipple
- Any change in shape or size of the breast
But Dr. Larkin points out that in the case of Stage II breast cancer, there may be no symptoms at all which is why it is so important to get your annual mammogram.
Note: The CDC has a program called the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, designed to make sure that women who are uninsured, under-insured and low-income get access to screening for breast cancer, as well as diagnostic and treatment help. The programs interactive map lets you click on your state to get local information.
What are the treatments for stage II breast cancer?
The treatments for stage II cancer depend not only on the tumor size and its biologic markers, but also your age, overall health and personal preferences. There are usually multiple modalities of treatment one treatment in and of itself is usually not enough, says Dr. Maxwell. The goal of the treatment is to, number one, get rid of the tumor, and number two, prevent it from coming back as much as possible. The plan will involve some combination of the following:
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Treatment At Moffitt
In the Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, our multispecialty tumor board reviews each thepatients breast cancer staging of many of our patients during a weekly meeting. This unique approach provides our patients with the benefit of highly individualized treatment based on multiple expert opinions in a single location, where we also offer comprehensive screening, diagnostic and supportive care services without the need for referrals.
If youd like to learn more about invasive ductal carcinoma stages and treatment options, call or complete a new patient registration form online. At Moffitt, we are providing every new patient with rapid access to a cancer expert within one day, a turnaround faster than that offered by any other cancer hospital across the country.
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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%.
Better Support During Radiation Treatment Improves Breast And Lung Cancer Survival Rates For Black And White Women
- Tags:White, Black/African-American, Whole-Breast External Radiation, Preparing for/Undergoing Radiation, Planning/Considering Radiation, Radiation After Surgery , Radiation to the Breast, Early-stage: Stage IIB, Early-stage: Stage IIA, Early-stage: Stage IB, Early-stage: Stage IA, and Early-stage: Stage 0 â DCIS
Identifying and offering solutions for obstacles that kept people from completing radiation therapy for early-stage breast cancer and lung cancer improved outcomes and seemed to eliminate the difference in 5-year survival rates between Black and white people, according to the ACCURE study.
The research was presented on Oct. 25, 2021, at the 2021 American Society for Radiation Oncology Annual Meeting. Read the abstract of Overall Survival From a Prospective Multi-Institutional Trial to Resolve Black-White Disparities in the Treatment of Early Stage Breast and Lung Cancer.
The 5-year survival rate means the percentage of people who were alive 5 years after diagnosis, whether or not the cancer came back.
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Why Is Staging Important
During your initial diagnosis, you and your cancer team will work together to develop a treatment plan. Staging allows you to answer the following questions:
- How does this cancer typically progress?
- Which treatments may work?
Some of the staging may be even more in-depth, but in general, its designed to prepare a more tailored approach to your disease. Your care team will be able to explain any new terms and what they mean for you.
Expert cancer care
A Disease No One Gets
Sadly, people donât âgetâ mets. In fact, a recent survey sponsored by Pfizer Oncology shows just how misunderstood it is. Sixty percent of the 2,000 people surveyed knew little to nothing about MBC while 72 percent believed advanced breast cancer was curable as long as it was diagnosed early. Even more disheartening, a full 50 percent thought breast cancer progressed because patients either didnât take the right treatment or the right preventive measures.
âTheyâve built an industry built on four words â early detection equals cure â and that doesnât even begin to define breast cancer,â said Schoger, who helped found Breast Cancer Social Media, a virtual community for breast cancer patients, caregivers, surgeons, oncologists and others. âWomen are blamed for the fate of bad biology.â
The MBC Alliance, a consortium of 29 cancer organizations including the biggest names in breast cancer , addressed this lack of understanding and support as well as what many patient advocates term the underfunding of MBC research in a recently published landmark report.
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