More women are living longer with distant metastatic breast cancer (MBC), according to a National Cancer Institute study. Between 1992-1994 and 2005-2012, 5-year relative survival among women who were diagnosed with MBC at ages 15 to 49 doubled, from 18% to 36%.
Researchers also found that relative survival time increased from 22.3 months to 38.7 months for women diagnosed aged 15 -49 years, and from 19.1 months to 29.7 months for those aged 50 – 64 years.
Moreover, a “small but meaningful” number of women are living years after an initial diagnosis of MBC, the study found. More than 11% of women diagnosed between 2000-2004 aged < 64 years survived ≥ 10 years. Although nearly half of women with MBC have had it for ≤ 2 , one third have lived with it for ≥ 5 years.
The study findings “make clear that the majority of MBC patients, those who are diagnosed with non-metastatic cancer but progress to distant disease, have never been properly documented,” said Angela Mariotto, PhD, chief of the NCI Data Analytics Branch of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. By including women with recurrence, the study provides a more accurate number of women in the U.S. living with MBC, which can help with health care planning.