Breast Cancer Survival Rates
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|How Is A Survival Rate Defined?
A survival rate is the standard way a doctor will discuss a patient's prognosis. In other words the statistical odds of what will happen to a woman with the disease in question. The patient's outlook will be determined by her present state of health, her age, how far the disease has progressed, how aggressive it is and what cancer treatments are available. Postmenopause women with early stages of breast cancer for example have a much better prognosis than women with widespread ovarian cancer. But these are only group statistics and do not necessarily indicate what will happen to the individual concerned. For example many women who have been given terrible prognoses are still alive and kicking many years after they were supposed to be. Advances in treatments and cancer clinical trials may turn a bad prognosis into a good one. However it is worth mentioning that a survival rate does not necessarily indicate a 'cure'.
The following is a list of the 5 year survival rates for women who received a breast cancer diagnosis between 2001 and 2002. That is the percentage of those women who are still living 5 years later. It should be pointed out that many go on to live much longer than 5 years. Also the statistics do not take into account that some of the women may have died of other causes in the meantime. Furthermore, by definition the study only takes into account women who were treated 5 years ago and cannot take into account developments in breast cancer treatment since. The figures are derived from the National Cancer. Some women find the numbers useful, while others may not want to know them.
Note: Not all sub-stages of cancer are noted. The survival rate for a breast cancer stage not mentioned will be very similar to the overall stage.
The International Cancer Survival Standard which is a world standardization of the 5-year relative survival rate was recently published. Taking figures from 1990 to 1994 worldwide breast cancer rates varied significantly in different parts of the world. Ranging from 80 percent in North America, Sweden, Australia, Japan and Finland to less than 60 percent in Slovakia and Brazil to below 40 percent in Algeria (North Africa). England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland ranged between 70 to 79 percent.
Survival rates in the UK and around the world have been improving significantly over the past 30 years. The most recent statistics available for England show that the 5-year survival rate (2001-06) is 82 percent for breast cancer. This is compared to 52 percent 30 years earlier.
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