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Advanced Breast Cancer Patients Are Living Longer

Women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer are living longer than ever before, according to recent study. While metastatic breast cancer is still considered largely incurable, five-year survival rates are up significantly across the United States as better treatments produce more positive outcomes.

The study that showed an uptick in survival rates focused on patient data collected between 1992 and 1994 and from 2005 to 2012. Researchers ultimately found that women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer under the age of 50 saw their five-year survival rates double from 18 to 36 percent over the set time period. The median survival time increased from a starting point of about 22.3 months to nearly 39. Women who were older, ages 50 to 64, also saw their survival grow from about 19 months to nearly 30.

While the results aren’t as positive as they are for cancers caught in earlier stages, researchers say the findings are quite encouraging. Longer survival times are a major step in the right direction. Researchers attribute the improvements to the introduction of new treatments meant to help women with advanced breast cancer. The drug Herceptin, for example, has been shown to lengthen lifespan for women with some forms of aggressive breast cancer. While metastatic breast cancer remains largely incurable, treatment advances are making a difference for many women. Researchers are finding that many women can now live much longer than one expected while still enjoying a relatively reasonable quality of life.

Women who are diagnosed with advanced breast cancer are urged to talk to their doctors about all treatment options. Women should be aware of the potential benefits and risks associated with each treatment option suggested. While doctors cannot guarantee outcomes, modern treatments are making a difference in the likely survival rate for women diagnosed with more aggressive forms of breast cancer.

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