"We wanted to see how these patient’s survival is in these six decades."
What they found was a gradual increase in the survival rate of all breast cancer patients.
"If you look at all patients diagnosed with breast cancer who were seen in 1944 and 54 at the end of ten years, only 25 percent of the women were alive. In contrast to that, in year 1995 to 2004, 76 percent of the women are alive."
Buzdar say it’s not just women who are diagnosed early who are living longer. Even when the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arms, the survival rate these days after ten years is 75 percent.
So why the drastic improvements?
"It is not one thing you can say ‘oh it’s because of this.’ It is multi factorial, that’s why patients with breast cancer need what we call a multi-disciplinary approach. That patients who have cancer, the team of doctors, who is surgeons medical oncologists, radiation doctor, pathologist and the diagnostic imaging team need to work together in harmony to design treatment which is optimal for that patient in that stage of cancer to get the best outcome."
Doctor Buzdar flew to Washington last week to give a speech on his findings. Breast cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women right behind lung cancer but…
"The good news is that the patient who has breast cancer today has far better odds of beating that cancer and be treated successfully and remain alive free of disease, five, ten years down the line."
And ten years from now those odds may be even better.