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survival rate

Why does all of the informatin talk about a 5 year survival rate?  I had a lumpectomy last week.  I have my f/u appt. tomorrow.  Assuming all is well, there will be radiation and hormone therapy and that's it. What happens after 5 years?  The literature does not seem to take anyone beyond that?   I feel like I should be counting down to 2116.  Can anyone clarify this?  thanks
3 Responses
962875 tn?1314213636
There are studies that consider 5-yr-survival rates, 10-year survival rates, disease-free survival rates , and  survival only rates (which may include dealing with a recurrence).  
The time-frames and outcome criteria are usually selected based on what will make
a feasible research study.

These can be somewhat useful in evaluating treatments, comparing the prognosis of different types of BC,  or charting overall trends in the progress against breast cancer,
but they have little value in predicting what will happen to any particular individual.

My advice would be to follow the recommendations of a treatment team that you trust, and incorporate as many as possible of  the lifestyle factors that are associated with risk reduction. (These have been shown to even lower the risk of people  with strong family hx and genetic predisposition).

Best wishes for successful tx and enjoying your future without too much focus on "expiration dates".
962875 tn?1314213636
Here is further explanation of the limitations of survival rate statistics, which I have copied from a previous related thread:

"In regard to your request for survival and recurrence figures, I'm not sure it's so much that your doctors won't give straight answers, as that such statistics are not meant to be applied to INDIVIDUALS.  They are meant primarily as a general guideline for treatment decisions.  Keep in mind, that to  figure 5- and 10-year rates, reseachers necessarily must use data at least that old and even older, which therefore does not reflect the many new treatments that have been developed, that have likely improved survival. Also, new information is constantly being published that may have different figures, so you will see different  'rates' quoted, based on publication date."

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Breast-Cancer/survival-rate/show/1051250?personal_page_id=773569#post_4869255
739091 tn?1300669627
The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is calculated based on averages. Each patient’s individual tumor characteristics, state of health, genetic background, etc. will impact her survival. In addition, levels of stress, immune function, will to live, and other unmeasurable factors also play a significant role in a patient’s survival.

Stage 5-year Relative
Survival Rate
0               100%
I                100%
IIA                92%
IIB                81%  
IIIA               67%
IIIB               54%
IV                20%

Source: American Cancer Society

Breast cancer survival also continues to decline after five years. Survival after ten years depends on the stage; early stage breast cancers are associated with high survival rates than late stages cancers.
Overall Survival Rate

  After 5 years         88%
  After 10 years       80%
  After 15 years       71%
  After 20 years       63%
  Source: American Cancer Society

All women are at risk for developing breast cancer. The older a woman is, the greater her chances of developing breast cancer. Approximately 77% of breast cancer cases occur in women over 50 years of age.

According to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute:

White, Hawaiian, and African-American women have the highest incidence of invasive breast cancer in the United States (approximately four times higher than the lowest group).

Korean, American Indian, and Vietnamese women have the lowest incidence of invasive breast cancer in the United States.

African-American have the highest death rate from breast cancer and are more likely to be diagnosed with a later stage of breast cancer than White women.

In the age groups, 30-54 and 55-69 years, African-American women have the highest death rate from breast cancer, followed by Hawaiian women, and white non-Hispanic women. However, in the 70 year old age group, the death rate from breast cancer for white women is higher than for African –American.

********************
My opinion, for what it's worth is, the survival rate based on five years is because most women didn't survive breast cancer years ago, but that is changing because of earlier diagnosis. I don't think they quite know what to do with survivors and there are growing numbers of them out there, and I hope to be one of them. (just an opinion folks, not a study)

I say look forward to 2016 and a healthy happy 2026 and beyond. Live your life.

Best wishes.
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