Saturday, January 21, 2012

FAQ: Are Breast Cancer Survival Rates Measured from Diagnosis or the End of Treatment?

Breast cancer survival rates are measured from the date of diagnosis. Research has shown that the risk of recurrence for triple-negative breast cancer is highest up to three years after diagnosis; at that point, it drops significantly.
In one study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, researchers followed 1,601 women for up to 8.1 years. 180 of these women (11.2%) had triple-negative breast cancer.
Compared with other women with breast cancer, those with triple-negative breast cancer had an increased likelihood of distant recurrence…within 5 years of diagnosis but not thereafter. The pattern of recurrence was also qualitatively different; among the triple-negative group, the risk of distant recurrence peaked at 3 years and declined rapidly thereafter.

And according to the National Cancer Institute, survival rates are measured from time of diagnosis. Some definitions:
Cancer-specific Survival: The period from diagnosis until death from the same cancer, whether the original lesion or to a second primary, same cancer or related causes. (Adapted from DJA Punt et. al., 2007)

Disease Free Survival, Disease Free Interval
:The period from date of diagnosis until date of first recurrence, loco-regional or systemic. (RTOG)

Overall Survival
:The period from date of diagnosis until death from any cause. (RTOG)

Progression Free Survival, Progression Free Interval
: The period during and after treatment in which a participant is living with a disease that does not get worse. Typically it is the period from date of diagnosis until 1) loco-regional or systemic recurrence, 2) second malignancy, or 3) death from any cause; late deaths not related to cancer or its treatment are excluded. (RTOG)

Read more about TNBC in my book, Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

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Teresa said...

Interesting information. Particularly as I approach the 3 year anniversary (January 28th) of my lumpectomy to remove...yep, triple negative breast cancer. I take comfort in your words. Thank you.

Patricia Prijatel said...

Teresa: Three years!!!!!! Yay. Congrats.

Mary in Texas said...

Thank you so much for keeping this blog and sharing so much information. In two weeks it will have been 4 1/2 years since I was diagnosed with TNBC. I was 36 at the time with a 4-year-old and a newborn. After a bilateral mastectomy, I continued to work full time while undergoing chemo. I would not have made it through without the support of my amazing husband, family, and friends. I just found your blog while researching HRT. I was considering bio-identical hormones to relieve symptoms of chemo-induced early menopause but instead am looking into accupuncture/accupressure. Thank you again for taking the time to share such great information.

Patricia Prijatel said...

Mary: Thanks for writing--and congrats on the 4.5 years. Whooheeee. Let me know how the acupuncture works. I swear by it, but I have never tried it for anything hormone-related.