Survival statistics for breast cancer
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.
Net survival represents the probability of surviving cancer in the absence of other causes of death. It is used to give an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive their cancer.
In Canada, the 5-year net survival for breast cancer is 87%. This means that, on average, about 87% of women diagnosed with breast cancer will survive for at least 5 years.
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).
Survival by stage
Survival varies with each stage of breast cancer. Generally, the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.
There are very few Canadian statistics available for the different stages of breast cancer. The following information comes from a variety of sources. It may include statistics from other countries that are likely to have similar outcomes as in Canada. These statistics are based on an older version of the TNM staging system that didn’t include the subcategories A and B for stages 2 and 3.
|Stage||5-year relative survival|
Questions about survival
Talk to your doctor about prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:
- your health history
- the type of cancer
- the stage
- certain characteristics of the cancer
- the treatments chosen
- how the cancer responds to treatment
Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.