Breast cancer survival rates soar
A breast cancer diagnosis can be a devastating blow. Upon receiving such a diagnosis, people may begin to ask questions about treatment and the impact cancer may have on their personal lives. Many people who are diagnosed with cancer also begin to wonder about their mortality.
An estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 63,960 new cases of non-invasive, or in situ, breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the United States this year, according to Breastcancer.org. According to the latest statistics presented by the Canadian Breast Cancer foundation, 26,300 women and 230 men had been diagnosed with breast cancer in Canada in 2017.
The good news is that breast cancer incidence rates began decreasing in 2000 after increasing for the previous two decades. In addition, death rates from breast cancer have been decreasingly steadily since 1989.
The National Cancer Institute says that the change in age-adjusted mortality rates are an indicator of the progress being made in the fight against breast cancer. The most recent SEER Cancer Statistics Review released in April 2018 indicates cancer death rates among women decreased by 1.4 percent per year between the years of 2006 and 2015. The American Cancer Society says that decreasing death rates among major cancer types, including prostate, colorectal, lung, and breast cancers, are driving the overall shift in survival. The ACS says breast cancer death rates among women declined by 39 percent from 1989 to 2015. That progress is attributed to improvements in early detection and treatment protocols. For anyone doing the math, over the last 25 years or so, 322,000 lives have been saved from breast cancer.
A similar scenario has unfolded in Canada. Breast cancer mortality rates in Canada recently decreased to 21.4 percent, down from 21.8 percent in 2011, states data from the Canadian Cancer Society. Currently, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer among Canadians is 87 percent, and the five-year net survival in the United States is 85 percent.
Increased knowledge about breast cancer, early detection through examinations and mammography and improved treatments are helping to drive up the survival rates of breast cancer. Although this does not make diagnosis any less scary, it does offer hope to those recently diagnosed.