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Breast Cancer Survival Rates in Women

There are many factors that affect the survival rate for breast cancer in women including the way the cancer was detected, the stage and grade of the cancer and the type of treatment.

The good news is that breast cancer survival rates are improving in the UK and have been for the last 30 years. This is largely due to screening, earlier diagnosis and improved treatments.

Breast Cancer Survival Rates for 1, 5 and 10 years

Cancer Research UK states that for women of all ages, with all stages of breast cancer and co-morbidities (i.e. where they may have other existing illnesses that affect the treatment offered) 95.8% will be expected to survive the disease for at least 1 year.

85% of women are expected to survive the disease for at least 5 years and 77% will survive for at least 10 years.

It is important to note that whilst people often think that once the 5 year stage is reached they are cured, it can be seen from the statistics that survival rates at 10 years are lower than 5 indicating mortality still increases beyond 5 years.

Age factors affecting breast cancer survival rates

The age at diagnosis can have a significant effect on breast cancer survival rates.

Women in their 50’s and 60’ have better outcomes than younger women and women who are older. This is due to the fact that younger women often present with faster growing tumours. The latest 5 year survival rates for women of different ages in England from Cancer Research UK are:

Age at Diagnosis

% Survival Rate

15-39

83.5%

40-49

89.1%

50-59

90.4%

60-69

90.1%

70-79

80.9%

80-99

68.5%

Breast Cancer Stages and Survival Rates

The breast cancer stage is a measure of the progression of the disease and how far it has spread beyond the tumour. It has a significant effect on breast cancer survival rates.

Doctors define the progression of breast cancer in terms of stages with stage 1 being the earliest and stage 4 being the most advanced form of breast cancer. The stages define the size of the tumour, whether the cancer has spread to any nearby lymph nodes and whether the tumour has spread to other parts of the body (metastasised) e.g. bones, liver etc.

Cancer Research UK gives 5 and 10 year breast cancer survival rates for women in England diagnosed in the early 1990’s as shown below. The outlook will have improved since this data was collected.

Stage

5 Year % Survival Rate

10 Year % Survival Rate

1

90%

85%

2

70%

60%

3

50%

40%

4

13%

10%

This data clearly shows that detection of breast cancer in the early stages results in much better outcomes.

Breast Cancer Survival Rates for Men

Because the incidence of male breast cancer is so low, there is not enough data to provide accurate survival rate statistics. If you are a man with breast cancer you should discuss outcomes with your GP or consultant.

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