Why Women With Breast Cancer Are Living Longer

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Even if you’ve been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer— meaning the disease has spread to other parts of your body — there’s reason to have hope. Studies show that women with advanced-stage breast cancer are living longer.

In the early 1990s, women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer before age 50 typically lived for about 22 months. By 2012, that had gone up to 39 months. 

It’s estimated that there are more than 150,000 U.S. women living with metastatic breast cancer today — an increase of nearly 20 percent since 2000. Recent findings are published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Though it might not seem like good news that more women have metastatic breast cancer, it’s a sign of progress.

Better Imaging and Treatments Are Improving Survival

According to researchers, women with aggressive breast cancer are living longer due to better imaging techniques, which help detect breast cancer earlier, and improved treatments.

The five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer before age 50 has doubled since the 1990s, from 18 percent to 36 percent.

In addition, people in the U.S. are living longer. That means that there are more older women overall and therefore more women being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Screening Still the Best Way to Reduce Your Risk 

Breast cancer screening is the best way to find breast cancer early, before it spreads. Screening happens in healthy adults with no symptoms. The goal is to find cancer before you feel a lump or notice its other signs. (For seven ways to reduce your risk of getting breast cancer, check out our post.)

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that most women receive mammograms every two years starting at age 50. Some may need earlier or more frequent screening—for example, if you have a family history of breast cancer, carry a certain genetic mutation or received radiation therapy to your chest when you were younger. 

Talk with your doctor about the screening schedule that would be best for you.

AdventHealth offers women the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re doing everything you can to spot breast cancer early. And even if cancer is found, AdventHealth has the latest therapy to fight cancer.

To schedule an appointment, visit our website.

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