What are the survival rates for breast cancer?

Updated: Apr 23, 2020
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Patients with node-negative disease have an overall 10-year survival rate of 70% and a 5-year recurrence rate of 19%. In patients with lymph nodes that are positive for cancer, the recurrence rates at 5 years are as follows:

  • One to three positive nodes – 30-40%

  • Four to nine positive nodes – 44-70%

  • ≥10 positive nodes – 72-82%

Hormone receptor–positive tumors generally have a more indolent course and are responsive to hormone therapy. ER and PR assays are routinely performed on tumor material by pathologists; immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a semiquantitative technique that is observer- and antibody-dependent.

This prognostic information can guide physicians in making therapeutic decisions. Pathologic review of the tumor tissue for histologic grade, along with the determination of ER/PR status and HER2 status, is necessary for determining prognosis and treatment. Evaluation of lymph node involvement by means of sentinel lymph node biopsy or axillary lymph node dissection is generally necessary as well. [77] (See the Staging section in this article as well as Medscape Reference article Breast Cancer Staging.)


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