What is the expected duration of Breast Cancer?

By  , Expert Content
Nov 29, 2011

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Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women. It affects about one million women worldwide. Age is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer. According to studies, the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age and doubles every 10 years until menopause, when the rate of increase slows. Based on research it has been observed that about 25% of breast cancers occur in women under the age of 50; 50% cases occur between the age of 50 and 69 and the remaining 25% occur in women who are 70 years or older. Treatment of breast cancer has advanced over the past few decades, which has thereby improved the prognosis and breast cancer mortality.

Expected Duration

Primary breast cancer: If the cancer is not treated, it will continue to grow. On an average, the five-year survival rate of breast cancer is about 88 percent. In early stages of cancer, the survival rate is about 98% percent, which decreases to about 26% in patients with advanced stage cancer. About 60% of breast cancers are diagnosed in the initial stages (when the cancer is still confined to the primary site) as the symptoms become evident in the initial stages. Seldom is breast cancer (6% of cases)  diagnosed after distant metastasis.

Recurrent breast cancer: A cancer, which recurs (comes back) after it has been treated is known as recurrent cancer.There is a risk of recurrence even after years of remission. Recurrence of cancer can be local recurrence (in the treated breast or near the mastectomy scar) or at a distant site (somewhere else in the body). The common sites where recurrences occur include the lymph nodes, the bones, liver, or lungs. About 60% of women do not have recurrence for five years after surgery. Risk of recurrence is higher in women who do not receive any additional therapy. Most women are likely to have recurrence within the first two years if no further treatment is given. The risk of recurrence of breast cancer decreases over time.



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