Most breast cancer patients will be long-term survivors: study
Researchers discovered that women diagnosed between 2010 and 2015 had a 66% lower chance of dying from the condition after five years than those diagnosed in the 1990s.
According to the largest research of its type, women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer are 66% less likely to die from the disease than they were 20 years ago, and the majority may expect to become "long-term survivors."
The Oxford University research indicated that the mortality rate for those diagnosed between 1993 and 1000 was 14.4%. According to the research published in the BMJ, this dropped to 4.9% among women diagnosed between 2010 and 2015.
For certain women, the chance of mortality within five years for certain women is as low as 0.2%.
Experts discovered that the proportion of women who survive the condition has increased significantly during the 1990s.
Between 1993 and 2015, researchers led by scholars at the University of Oxford examined survival rates in 500,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in England. The authors focused on patients in whom breast cancer had not gone beyond the breast.
They then followed up on the patients to determine their risk of mortality five years after diagnosis, when the risk of death from breast cancer was shown to be greatest.
Authors wrote that the prognosis for women diagnosed early improved "substantially" since the 1990s, adding that “Most can expect to be long-term cancer survivors.”
Dr. Carolyn Taylor, a professor of oncology at Oxford Population Health and lead author of the paper, expressed that the study is "good news" because the risk of dying after diagnosis in the first 5 years is now only 5%.
She added that “It can also be used to estimate risk for individual women in the clinic. Our study shows that prognosis after a diagnosis of early breast cancer varies widely, but patients and clinicians can use these results to predict accurate prognosis moving forward."
Taylor noted however that future research may be able to reduce these numbers even further.
New therapies, enhanced radiation, better diagnosis and breast screening, and research that have identified various features of breast cancer are some of the likely reasons for the rise in survival rates, according to specialists.
Malignancy Research UK says this is the first large-scale research with an extensive follow-up to not only monitor which women died from their condition but also to map out features of the patients and their malignancy. This means physicians will be able to utilize it to make an accurate prediction for women.
The researchers examined several aspects of the condition and discovered that the probability of dying within five years was less than 3% for 63% of women. However, the risk was 20% or higher for 4.6% of women.
Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive called it "heartwarming news," adding that the study "through the power of science, research, clinical trials, and screening," can offer more reassurance for many women now.
Mitchell notes that the governments in the UK should take more action by facilitating the work of the NHS to make sure enough staff and equipment can meet the growing demands of the future.