Survival Rate Of Breast Cancer: What Is The Prognosis For A Patient?

survival rate of breast cancer

The survival rate of breast cancer is a common concern among people diagnosed with this condition. The family members of these individuals, along with the caregivers, want them to survive the longest time possible and have the best health. A person with breast cancer does not have to struggle with the symptoms.   

The percentage of people who are similarly experiencing the issues can give one an idea of what to expect with survival rates. However, this is only possible with proper care and guidance, which comes with collaboration.   

The following article will focus on the survival rate of breast cancer patients.   

Prognosis for breast cancer

Prognosis for breast cancer

Prognosis implies predicting the expected development of a condition, be it the signs, symptoms, or risk factors. The prognosis of a condition tells of the likely course a condition will take.   

The prognosis of breast cancer varies. However, with proper treatment options and several other factors, it is possible to experience a good prognosis for breast cancer.   

The poorest prognosis of breast cancer is stage IV breast or when the cancer metastasizes. The cancer spreads beyond the breasts and the lymph nodes that are present nearby. This cannot be controlled, barring a few lucky cases when the spread of breast cancer is prevented.   

The prognosis of the condition also depends on age, gender, and ethnicity. All three of which can change the course of the condition. The breast cancer screening guidelines suggests that the prognosis of breast cancer is at least five years. However, cases differ depending on several factors that affect an individual.   

The previous outcomes of the large number of people who have a particular type of cancer was not accurate. The statistics can be confusing and lead to further questions about the survival rate of patients. This doubt can be cleared up with the help of more accurate statistics.   

For example, the usual survival rate for women with breast cancer of the same stage. And type compared with the rest of the women, which gives a relative survival rate. A 5-year survival rate for women with a specific stage and type of breast cancer is 90%. This implies that women with breast cancer are 90% likely to live five years after diagnosis in comparison to those who do not have it.   

Who is giving these numbers?

This data comes from the American Cancer Society, which pools data from the SEER database that the NCI maintains and provides statistics on the different types of cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) tracks 5-year relative survival rates for breast cancer in the country through SEER. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database does not group the cancers as per AJCC TNM stages (1, 2, etc.)   

The SEER stages are Localized, regional, and distant. The survival rate of people with cancers categorized as that is 99%, 86%, and 31%, respectively.   

Did you know?   

Female African American individuals are more likely to have high mortality rates than those of other races and genders. They are also more likely to have aggressive types of cancers that are harder to treat.   

There may be several treatment options for breast cancer. However, the most reliable and often “last resort” are chemotherapy and breast reconstruction surgery.   

Factors That Determine Survival Rate Of Breast Cancer

Factors That Determine Survival Rate Of Breast Cancer

There are several factors that determine the survival rate of breast cancer in a person. These may be as follows:   

Tumor profile

The tumor profile is the size, tumor’s spread, and visual appearance of the breast cancer cells. These determine the type of tumor present, which can help understand the patient’s prognosis. The tumor profile is received through biopsy or after surgery.   

The proteins present on the surface of cancer cells also help determine the prognosis. In addition, there are also genes that the cancer cells express, which give a peek into the survival rate of the patient.   

Nature of the breast cancer

The nature of breast cancer here implies whether the tumor is invasive or non-invasive. For example, if the cancer is staged at ‘0’, then its presence is limited to the milk duct. There are chances that non-invasive cancer will become invasive in nature, which is why monitoring is imperative in such cases.   

Size of the tumor

The size of the tumor has a lot to say about breast cancer. The tumor’s size is a significant determinator in the prognosis of breast cancer; for example, the large size of the tumor implies that it will be at a higher stage. The prognosis worsens with this. The following might help you understand it:   

  • Small tumors such as those 2 cm (about 0.79 in) or smaller are stage T1.   
  • Tumors between 2 – 5 cm (approximately half the length of the long edge of a credit card) are stage T2.  
  • Tumors 5 cm (about 1.97 in) or larger are stage T3 tumors.   

Grade of the cancer

Cancer grade is determined with the help of cell examination through tissue or biopsy. The grade of the cancer helps in knowing if the cells are ‘wild’ or ‘normal.’ Normal-looking cells mean that the tumor is of a low grade. This grading helps in understanding the spread of the cancer and the possibility of it spreading at all. There are three grades of cancer-   

  • Grade 1: The low-grade cancer, which shows relatively normal tumor cells under a microscope. These are slow-growing, non-invasive types, thus with a poor diagnosis.   
  • Grade 2: The middle-grade cancer that looks less normal than grade 1.   
  • Grade 3: These are high-grade cancers that have poor differentiation and have the wildest appearance under a microscope. This grade of cancer has the worst prognosis.  

Presence of biomarkers

Have you heard of Triple-negative breast cancer? Well, this is the most challenging cancer to treat. Triple-negative cancer is also more relevant in people with a mutation in the BRCA1 mutation. The go-to treatment option for this type of cancer is chemotherapy. People with triple-negative breast cancer have a low survival rate.   

Similarly, the presence of biomarkers helps determine the survival rate. A healthcare provider will know more about the treatment options for cancer. The presence of biomarkers allows novel treatment options to attack cancer cells directly.   

Three major biomarkers play an important role in determining the survival rate of breast cancer. These are Progesterone, estrogen, and HER2. The presence of any of the two hormone receptors (Progesterone or estrogen) helps in treatment, whereas the absence of either of the two worsens the prognosis.   

Cancer cells that have hormone receptors respond well to the treatment and are thus slowly growing. This helps in improving the survival rate of the patient.   

On the other hand, human epidermal growth factor 2 receptors on the cancer cell. HER2 promotes the growth of breast cancer. HER2-positive breast cancer spreads and grows quickly. This also helps treatment options to be specific. Despite that, healthcare providers consider HER2 to have a worse prognosis. This changes with the advancement in treatment options and the development of newer techniques.   

HER2-positive cells can have 40-100 times more of the receptor, which explains its rapid growth and spread. This is why it is considered to have a worse prognosis than HER2-negative cancers.   

Gene expression profile

The gene expression profile is the genetic signal that can inform the healthcare provider about the cancer’s status. The breast cancer gene test is a type of personalized medicine that. Gene expression tests can include MammaPrint, Oncotype DX, and Prosigna, which are most useful in the early stages of cancers.   

These tests help in analyzing the genes that the cancer cells are expressing. This allows the healthcare expert to understand the likelihood of the cancer returning. Reducing the risk of cancer’s return is through chemotherapy.   

A Look At Different Survival Rate Based On Breast Cancer Staging

A Look At Different Survival Rate Based On Breast Cancer Staging

The breast cancer staging plays a significant role in determining the survival rate of the patient.  

Stage 1 Breast Cancer Survival Rate

Now that we’ve understood the factors that can affect breast cancer, the stage of breast cancer is inversely proportional to the survival rate. This means that the lower the stage of cancer, the higher the survival rate.   

Thus, the patients with Stage 1 breast cancer have a 98% to 100% 5-year breast cancer survival rate in comparison to the individuals without breast cancer diagnosis.   

Stage 2 Breast Cancer Survival Rate

The survival rate of patients with stage 2 breast cancer is a 90-95% 5-year survival rate in comparison to those without a diagnosis.    

Stage 3 Breast Cancer Survival Rate

People with stage 3 breast cancer have a 66% to 98% 5-year survival rate.   

Stage 4 Breast Cancer Survival Rate

Those with advanced-stage breast cancer have a 29% 5-year survival rate in comparison to those in other stages or even without it.  

Wrapping It Up!

In conclusion, the survival rate of breast cancer for invasive breast cancer is worse than for non-invasive breast cancer. In addition, the higher-grade tumors grow faster and are more likely to spread than lower grade.   

The tumors with a hormone receptor present on them are treatable. However, those with HER2 receptors are more aggressive. The stage of the cancer determines the prognosis, specifically the 5-year relative survival rate.   

Do you know anything else about the survival rate of breast cancer? Let us know in the comment below! 

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Harsha Sharma

Harsha is a senior content writer with numerous hobbies who takes great pride in spreading kindness. Earning a Postgraduate degree in Microbiology, she invests her time reading and informing people about various topics, particularly health and lifestyle. She believes in continuous learning, with life as her inspiration, and opines that experiences enrich our lives.

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