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The short answer is yes, unfortunately. The odds of surviving are in your favor, however. If you have stage III breast cancer, you have a 28% chance of dying five years after diagnosis, according to recent U.S. statistics.
Survival rates for breast cancer depend upon the extent to which the cancer has spread and the treatment received. Statistics for survival are based upon women who were diagnosed years ago, and since therapies are constantly improving, current survival rates may be even higher.
Statistics are often reported as five-year survival rates by stage of the tumor. The following statistics from the National Cancer Data Base reflect patients who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the past:
|Breast Cancer Stage||Five-Year Survival Rate|
Clinical trials are always ongoing to test new treatment regimens and to determine the appropriate length of treatment (see clinicaltrials.gov). Studies are also ongoing to test which types of radiation therapy and which schedules for radiation therapy are most effective. Other studies are focused on discovering the optimal length of treatment with hormone therapy and the optimum drug choices for hormone therapy in pre- and postmenopausal women. New drugs and new targeted therapies are under investigation as well.
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Stopeck, Alison T. "Breast Cancer." Medscape.com. Sept. 16, 2014. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1947145-overview#aw2aab6b2b7>.
United States. National Cancer Institute. "Breast Cancer." Sept. 26, 2012. <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/breast>.