It used to be that once you hit the five-year mark after breast cancer surgery, you could breathe a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, more and more I am hearing of women being ten, 15, or 20 years out having breast cancer again. Are there any statistics as to recurrence/survival rates depending on the number of years out from the original breast cancer? Is it true that the further out, the more likely the breast cancer would be a new cancer?
Thank you so much and thanks for the great service you provide.
Dear twocapes: Historically, research generally focused on survival and statistics were often presented on “5 year survival.” Somewhere along the way, it became commonplace to hear that “if you survived 5 years, you were cured.” In reality, the longer a person is free of disease, the less likely it is to return but there is never a “zero percent chance” of recurrence. There are other factors that may increase or decrease a person’s likelihood of recurrence, such as tumor size, lymph node status, hormone receptor status, HER-2 status, etc and probabilities of recurrence would be more based on these factors and would be discussed between the oncologist and the individual based on the specific situation. People who have had one breast cancer have a higher likelihood of developing a second breast cancer. Time, though, is not necessarily a predictor of whether the cancer is new or recurrent.
There are so many determining factors; type, stage, treatment,etc.I doubt the statistics could be too accurate even if there are any. It will be interesting though to get C.Clinic's view on this subject. I know for sure that the 5 year thing certainly isn't true ..... I have seen way too many who were many more years post dx for that to hold much weight.
I too will be interested to read C.C.'s input on this subject, as I am 4 and a half years' out from surgeries, chemo, and rads. Just taking Arimidex now.
Two of my friends have recently been dx with new primary bcs - one 12 yrs out, one 5 yrs - the latter being found at her 5 yrly mammo.One had an unusual tumour with leakage from her nipple and had a mastectomy, now she has the same problem, but in the other breast. The other friend has had a recurrence in the bc breast, but she said it is a different type. She is a bit of an ostrich and won't discuss it, so I don't know what she means. As we only get 2 yrly mammos after bc (3 yrly without bc) it does trouble me that another tumour could be growing in the intervening 2 yrs, especially as I had a non palpable invasive ductal tumour. How on earth would I know if it can't be felt? When I questioned my bc surgeon about this, he said it is because too much radiation can cause breast cancer. Logically, I wonder why they prescribe 25 rads as treatment, when it can cause it? Defeats me. My husband said it is because of "resources" and he is probably right, as we have socialised medicine in England. I did ring a private hospital last week to enquire if they would do a mammogram, affirmative, so no worries about excessive radiation there. However, as I had had bc they said they would also need to do an ultrasound and wanted $800 for both tests. I am still trying to decide what to do - pay up or wait till Feb for my 5 yrly mammo. I've got some funny white lumps, quite noticeable, to the side of the aureola on the bc breast but hate to bother my bc nurse in case they think I am a hypochondriac.
You're not a hypochondriac! You see lumps, you're not imagining them. I would try to get in with a doctor and see what they say. They could help you determine if you should pay for mammo and US. I can see why you're frustrated being told you can't have a mammogram for another six months, especially since you've had cancer before.
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