Survival statistics for breast cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.
There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for breast cancer and what they mean to you.
Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer, but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).
In Canada, a 5-year relative survival is reported for breast cancer. The 5-year relative survival for all stages of breast cancer is 88%. This means that, on average, women diagnosed with breast cancer are 88% as likely to live 5 years (or more) after their diagnosis as women in the general population.
Survival varies with each stage of breast cancer. Generally, the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.
The following statistics are based on an older version of the TNM staging system, before there were subcategories (A and B) in stages II and III.
|Stage||5-year relative survival|
Notes: Stage IIA may have a slightly better survival than stage IIB as the cancer is less advanced. Stage IIIA may have a slightly better survival than stage IIIB as the cancer is less advanced.
People with cancer should talk to their doctor about their prognosis. Prognosis depends on many factors, including
Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.