Breast Cancer May Be Cured if Diagnosed and Treated Early
Cure rates are given in terms of 5- and 10-year survival rates; Stages I, II and III cancers weigh in at different percentages for years-of-life survival
Is cancer cured? Or is cancer in remission? Distinguishing between cure and remission is important. A patient is considered in full remission when all symptoms of breast cancer are gone. After a patient has been free of symptoms for 5 or more years, some oncologists consider their patients cured. However, it is possible that some cancer cells may stay in the body for many years following treatment.
American Cancer Society 2018 Statistics and Estimates
The 5-year survival rate for most breast cancer cases diagnosed at the localized stage, i.e., not having spread to lymph nodes or other places outside of the breast, is estimated at 99 to 100%. This is Stage I. About 62% of all breast cancer cases are diagnosed at this stage.
The 5-year survival rates for Stages II and III are estimated as follows:
- Stage II – 93%
- Stage III – 72%
The 10-year survival rate for breast cancer patients whose cancer has invaded other parts of the body is 83%. These percentages are quite good due to the advancements in cancer treatment over the past several years.
Increasing the Odds for Survival
Early detection is key. The earlier cancerous cells and tumors are found, the more likely a patient can be cured after treatment. When a family physician orders a mammogram, the patient should schedule it immediately. The patient should visit the same mammography lab each year, or at least keep the records from each mammogram, for comparison purposes year to year. Any changes or lumps in the breast should be reviewed and tested.
Breast cancer cannot always be cured, but it can certainly be treated. The advanced treatments available today alleviate the pain and discomfort of yesteryear. Improvements in quality of life for breast cancer patients before, during, and after treatments, especially laser treatments, have made for a more comfortable life while working to survive breast cancer.