October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today, about 1 of 8 women in the United States is unfortunately expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Throughout October, members of the Rochester Regional Health Breast Care team will provide information in our monthly Q&A series to help you take a few important steps that can significantly improve your odds of enjoying a lifetime of good health.
Robin Reid, MD
Rochester Regional Health
Q: How long until I am considered cancer-free?
A: According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American women. However, the good news is with today’s state-of-the art treatments, there’s an excellent chance of surviving the disease.
Statistics from the National Cancer Institute show five-year survival rate for non-metastatic breast cancer (breast cancer that has not spread beyond the breast) is 80%.
Breast cancer can recur even after five years, however during the first five years, the risk of recurrence is highest. It is important to realize that the more time passes, the lower the risk of recurrence becomes.
There are many different factors taken together that can affect the chance of surviving breast cancer. Throughout the treatment process, discuss with your doctor steps you can take along the way and at the conclusion of treatment to continue and increase your odds of beating cancer.
Earlier this month, I discussed factors that can lower your risk for breast cancer. Continue to be proactive in your health in regard to managing those factors that you can control.
No one can predict the future. Your body is unique and how it will handle breast cancer is different from how someone else will handle treatment. Many women have beaten the odds, and continue to do so every day.
You just have to do the best you can, with the best team of doctors and nurses that you can assemble, together with your support network.
The good news is that more and more women are living longer than five years past breast cancer as a result of early detection, more effective breast cancer treatments, and better overall medical care.
The Rochester General Health Breast Center is one of the highest volume breast centers in New York State and is a Center of Excellence in cancer care. Our goals are to: Provide patient focused state-of-the-art comprehensive and coordinated multidisciplinary care in a compassionate and supportive environment, maintain excellence through supporting oncology clinical research, and serve as a community resource for referring and treating physicians as well as patients and their families. For more information, visit our website.