The percentage of patients, who after being diagnosed with cancer, that live for at least five years, is referred to as the 5-year observed survival rate. In fact, several of these persons live even longer than five years after being diagnosed.
A relative survival rate is a comparison between the observed survival and that which would be expected for cancer free persons. A relative survival rate gives more accurate figures when determining the effect of cancer on survival, and allows for the calculation of deaths caused by factors other than cancer. (It has been determined that relative breast cancer survival rates are as high as observed survival and even higher in some cases).
To get the 5-year survival rates, people who received treatment at least five years ago are observed. It is possible for there to be a more positive prognosis for people currently being diagnosed with breast cancer, as a result of improvements in treatment.
The previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, are what serves as the base for survival rates. These outcomes do not allow for similar predictions in the cases of all people. There are other contributing factors to a person’s outlook. This includes age and health, the presence of hormone receptors on the cancer cells, the treatment administered and the level of response of the cancer to the treatment. Since your doctor would be familiar with the details of your specific situation, they will be able to advise you how the numbers below apply to you.
The statistics available do not divide breast cancer survival rates, using all of the substages, such as IA and IB. The rate of the overall stage and the rates for these substages are usually close. An example would be that the survival rate for stage IA could be somewhat higher than what is listed for stage I, but the survival rate for stage IB would be expected to be somewhat lower.
These statistics are based on the stage at which the cancer is, on initial diagnosis, and this is important to understand. These do not apply to cancers that return or become more aggressive later on.
The rates, sourced from the SEER database of the National Cancer Institute, are based on the earlier version of AJCC staging. In that version, patients that would now be classified stage IB would be included in stage II.
Breast Cancer Survival Rates
||5-Year Relative Survival Rate