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Several factors affect the survival rate for breast cancer, including the stage of breast cancer, the cancer type, and the patient's age and general health. Most statistics refer to the 5-year survival rate. While there are various methods for calculating the survival rates, the statistics provided in this article refer to the relative survival rate, which measures the survival of breast cancer patients in comparison to the general population.

What Is a Breast Cancer Survival Rate?

The survival rate for breast cancer indicates the percentage of people with a certain type and stage of breast cancer who survive the disease for a specific period of time after their diagnosis. In most cases, statistics refer to the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer. The 5-year survival rate is the percentage of people who are alive 5 years after a breast cancer diagnosis, whether they have few or no signs or symptoms of breast cancer, are free of disease, or are having treatment for breast cancer.
The breast cancer survival rate is based on large groups of people, and it cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular patient. No two patients are exactly alike, and breast cancer treatment and responses to treatment vary greatly.

Factors Influencing the Survival Rate for Breast Cancer

In general, the survival rate will depend on:
  • The stage of breast cancer (see Breast Cancer Stages)
  • The breast cancer type
  • Estrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor levels in the tumor tissue
  • A woman's age, general health, and whether or not she has gone through menopause
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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