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What are the survival rates for breast cancer?
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What determines the survival rate?
- Including the type of cancer. For example, someone with prostate cancer or breast cancer has a better chance of survival than someone with lung cancer or pancreatic cancer.
- The stage of the cancer also strongly determines the chance of a cure. The smaller the tumor and the earlier it is detected and treated, the better the prognosis. If there are metastases, the chance of a cure decreases.
- The effect of the treatment, family history, age, lifestyle and general health of the patient also play a role.
The chance of survival in cancer is expressed with the term ‘five-year survival’. This indicates the average percentage of people who are still alive five years after the cancer diagnosis. After this period, the chance that the cancer will return is quite small. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is quite good: five years after diagnosis, about 90 percent of breast cancer patients are still alive.
Read also: Why is breast cancer so difficult to eradicate?
Survival rate by stage
- Stage 1: The tumor is smaller than 2 cm. There are no metastases to the axillary lymph nodes. About 99 percent of patients at this stage are still alive after five years.
- Stage 2: The size of the tumor is between 2 and 5 cm, with or without metastases to the axillary lymph nodes. At stage 2, the survival rate is about 92 percent.
- Stage 3: The tumor is larger than 5 cm, with or without metastases in the axillary lymph nodes. Stage 3 also applies to a tumor smaller than 5 cm but protruding through the skin or attached to the chest wall. About 77 percent of patients with stage 3 breast cancer are still alive five years later.
- Stage 4: There are metastases in other organs or tissues of the body. At this stage, the survival rate drops to about 32 percent.
These figures are global averages and therefore do not necessarily accurately represent the individual’s chance of being cured. Always discuss your own situation with your doctor. He too cannot accurately predict the lifespan of a cancer patient, but he can explain more about what the numbers mean in a specific situation.
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