Breast Cancer Prognosis
billions of dollars spent
cancer continues to make speak of it as being the second major cause of death in the U.S. Each year, the disease
causes the death of about 559,888 people.
alone kills around 41.528 women each year in the United States; this represents an estimate of 4 deaths per
hour. With nearly 205.000 new cases each year worldwide, breast
cancer becomes a matter of concern for all women in the world.
there is hope; breast cancer survival rate is steadily increasing in recent years. Over 80% of women who have
breast cancer live more than ten years. This rate, nevertheless, varies by race; from 1999-2005, the overall 5-year survival rate
was 89.1%, with 90.3% for white women and 77.9% for black women. Although
minimal, there are victims who completely recover from the disease; do your best to be one of them. However,
your chance of being cured or surviving for over 10 years depends on various factors:
extension of the tumor - You're less
likely to survive if the cancer has spread into your lymph nodes or other organs in your body. The risk of
recurrence increases compatibly with the number of axillary lymph nodes affected. Thus, with more than 10 cancerous lymph nodes, you have a great chance to see
the disease return after treatment. The size of the lymph node affected by the cancer is also important.
Size of the
tumor - the size of
the tumor plays a major role in your survival chance. A large breast cancer tends to spread or metastasize to
other organs in your body; thus:
- a tumor
smaller than 1 cm, five-year survival rate is
- a tumor
of 1 to 2 cm, five-year survival rate is
- a tumor
of 2cm to 5cm, five-year survival rate is
30% to 40%
- a tumor
5 cm or more, five-year survival rate is
less than 25%.
the tumor - you can be
diagnosed with noninvasive breast cancer or invasive breast cancer:
breast cancer: If you
are lucky to detect the tumor in its early stage, your chance of being completely cured is very high. For a
cancer in situ that is localized and has not reached the lobules, the chance of recurrence is very
breast cancer: an
invasive cancer that has spread locally or into other organs, the chance of survival depends on the size of
the tumor and type of organs it has invaded. Usually, a tumor that has spread into the lymphatic system of
the breast is less dangerous; in the
other hand, a cancer that has affected the muscles of the chest may present serious complications. The
survival chance considerably decreases.
Hormone-receptor positive or
higher chance to survive if your tumor is hormone receptor positive. Your breast may contain hormone
receptor-positive cells or hormone receptor negative cells. Hormone receptor-positive cells do not grow much but
they produce large quantities of receptors for estrogen and progesterone. Hormone receptor negative cells, in
the other hand, produce less hormone receptors, but they have more potential for growth. If the hormone receptor
negative cells are normal, they turn into hormone receptor-positive cells and have their characteristics.
When they are
cancerous, these cells remain in a state of hormone receptor negative, and multiply anarchically. Therefore, you
have a better chance of survival if your tumor is receptor-positive.
Genetic - there are at least three genetic factors that may
contribute to your prognosis:
diploid DNA - the normal
breast cells are diploid (chromosomes it contains are present in pairs) and have the ability to produce 2
copies of each chromosome. Cancer
cells, in the other hand, do not respect this harmonious reproduction. This lack of diploid cell makes the
risk of breast cancer recurrence nearly 3 times higher.
level of cell reproduction - cell
division is the mode of multiplication of any cell. When the division is normal, it allows a cell to divide
into two daughter cells; one cell
becomes two, and then four, then eight and so on. Cancer
cells, however, just divide like crazy; this abnormal cell division is the characteristic of cancer
of certain neu-oncogenes -
certain genes such as HER-2/neu (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-2) tends to amplify
aggressiveness of breast cancer in up to 30% of breast cancer patients. If you have this condition, you
have an increased risk of recurrence and worse prognosis.
fighting cancer is very stressful, a happy mood and healthy lifestyle during and after the treatment have a
strong impact in your survival chance. Be happy and positive during and after the therapies.