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Survival

Survival is generally good for breast cancer and is continuing to improve.

Survival depends on many different factors. It depends on your individual condition, type of cancer, treatment and level of fitness. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. 

These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).

You can also talk about this with the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Survival by stage

No UK-wide statistics are available for different stages of breast cancer or individual treatments. These statistics are from one area of England for people diagnosed between 2002 and 2006.

Stage 1

Most women (around 99%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 2

Almost 90 out of 100 women (almost 90%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. 

Stage 3

Almost 60 out of 100 women (almost 60%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. 

Stage 4

15 out of 100 women (15%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed. The cancer is not curable at this point, but may be controlled with treatment for some years. 

Survival for all stages of breast cancer

Generally for women with breast cancer in England and Wales

  • Around 95 out of every 100 women (around 95%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
  • Almost 90 out of every 100 women (almost 90%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis
  • Almost 80 out of every 100 women (almost 80%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis
  • Around 65 out of every 100 women (around 65%) are expected to survive their cancer for more than 20 years after diagnosis

What affects survival

Your outlook depends on the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.

The type of cancer and grade of the cancer cells can also affect your likely survival. Grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.

Your general health and fitness also affect survival because overall, the fitter you are, the better you may be able to cope with your cancer and treatment.

Another factor that can affect survival is whether the cancer cells have receptors for particular cancer drugs.

About these statistics

The term 5 year survival doesn't mean you will only live for 5 years. It relates to the number of people who live 5 years or more after their diagnosis of cancer.

Statistics are averages based on large numbers of patients. They can’t predict exactly what will happen to you. No two patients are exactly alike and response to treatment also varies from one person to another.
 

More statistics

For more in depth information about breast cancer survival, go to our Cancer Statistics section.

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.