November 29, 2021 by John Fernandez
Breast Cancer Survivorship: Providing Support Well Into the Future
Breast cancer survivorship has made great strides over the years. Death rates from the disease have been dropping since about 1989. Currently, there are nearly 3 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.
Other statistics based on the most recent data from the American Cancer Society also are encouraging:
- The relative survival rate of women diagnosed with breast cancer is 89 percent at five years after diagnosis.
- Overall, breast cancer death rates in women decreased 36 percent from 1989 to 2012.
- Out of all cancers, breast cancer has one of the highest survival rates. There is a one in 36 chance that a woman will die from breast cancer.
- Breast cancer in men is rare – approximately 1 percent of breast cancer cases. The death rate for male breast cancer decreased nearly 2 percent between 2000 and 2012.
A woman’s chance of getting breast cancer remains relatively the same as it’s been for several years. One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with some type of breast cancer during their lifetime, the American Cancer Society estimates. In 2016, this means about 300,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed. Only one group – women ages 50 and older – experienced an increase in new diagnoses, 0.7 percent, during the most recent time period studied (2008-2012).
“As long as the U.S. population continues to age and people live longer, we’ll continue to see more patients diagnosed with breast cancer,” says Starr Mautner, M.D., a surgeon with the Breast Center at Miami Cancer Institute.
No matter at what age breast cancer develops, surviving it – as well as most other types of cancer – depends largely on how well a patient’s plan of care is tailored to his or her individual needs. Optimal results are achieved when a team of specialists comprehensively address a patient’s physical and mental health.
At Miami Cancer Institute, this team includes surgeons, oncologists, oncology nurse practitioners, oncology-certified nutritionists, exercise physiologists and mental health professionals. Together, they provide care that covers the full spectrum of services, including:
- Diagnosis and treatment
- Management of treatment side effects
- Screening tests to evaluate for recurrent cancer or new cancer
- Patient education and support
- Wellness and prevention, including lifestyle changes to promote healthy living
The comprehensive cancer survivorship program available to breast cancer survivors provides medical guidance for a patient’s care well into the future, says Beatriz Currier, M.D., medical director of the Cancer Patient Support Center. The program will be offered to all patients when the Institute opens in January.
“Patients will be referred into the program as part of their routine care, and the program will centralize their survivorship care needs,” Dr. Currier said.
(Photo Caption: Employees from West Kendall Baptist Hospital dress in pink tutus during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness about and celebrate survivorship from the disease.)