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Breast Cancer (cont.)

What Is the Prognosis for Breast Cancer?

Due to improved screening and awareness of breast cancer coupled with advances in therapy, death rates from breast cancer have been continuously declining since 1990. In particular, noninvasive (in situ) cancers are associated with a very high cure rate, but even advanced tumors have been successfully treated. It is important to remember that breast cancer is a highly treatable disease and that screening for breast cancer often enables the detection of tumors at their earliest stages when treatment has the best chance for success.

What Is the Recurrence Rate for HER2-Positive Breast Cancer?

HER2-positive tumors tend to grow faster than tumors that do not express the HER2 protein. However, recurrence rates vary and depend upon more than simply the HER2 status of the tumor. Like other breast cancers, recurrence rates depend upon the extent of spread of the tumor at the time of diagnosis (stage) of the tumor along with other characteristics of the tumor. The development of anti-HER2 therapies (discussed previously) has significantly improved the outlook for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Research

Research is ongoing to help clarify the precise causes of breast cancer and the cellular mechanism by which certain lifestyle factors cause development of cancer. A long-term ongoing study is looking at 50,000 women whose sisters had breast cancer and will collect information from these women over a period of 10 years. The influence of diet and lifestyle factors that may influence cancer development or progression is of particular interest to researchers.

Other types of research are directed at identification of additional cellular targets (such as the HER2 protein) that may be useful for the development of new therapies for breast cancer. The development of new chemotherapy agents is being studied as well as the effectiveness of newer and different radiotherapy regimens.

Surgical therapies are also being improved and advances in surgical technique are being investigated to improve both surgical removal of breast cancers and breast reconstruction following tumor removal.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/17/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Breast Cancer »

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second most common cause of death from cancer in women.

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