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Prognosis of Breast Cancer

Survival after diagnosis and treatment has continually improved over many decades. This is due to increased use of mammography screening, which provides early detection of the disease, as well as improved treatment. Approximately 2/3 of patients are cured of the disease. Five year relapse free survival, all stages considered, is more than 80%.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of lifespan reduction among women under 65 and ranks above both heart/vascular diseases and accidents. At the end of 2013, there were 41 224 women with the diagnosis in Norway.

The prognosis of breast cancer is highly dependent on the stage. Five year relative survival for disease limited to the breast (stage I), is for the years 2008-2012 99.1%, compared to 26.6 %, if distant metastasis is present at the time of diagnosis. It is well known that patients with breast cancer have an excessive death rate for more than 20 years after the diagnosis. One year after diagnosis 96,9 per % of the patients are alive versus 75,7 % at 15 years. The latter figure is due to the adjuvant treatment in the middle nineties. It is too early for an effect of aromatase inhibitors for postmenopausal and trastuzumab for HER2 positives or the use of taxanes to be shown.

 

Five-year relative survival of patients with breast cancer, in percent, during the diagnosis period 1974–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

 

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