Experts at a conference organized in London by the Breast Cancer Campaign charity yesterday suggested that breast cancer may no longer be a killer disease. Instead it may become a long-term manageable disorder like diabetes and arthritis.
The survival rate among breast cancer patients has increased due to the significant developments in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. It was revealed at the conference that the recurrence of the cancer was reduced by new drugs like Herceptin.
Treatment for breast cancer has significantly improved in the last one decade. Previously, radiation therapy and invasive surgery were the main treatments. Nowadays, superior techniques in cosmetic surgery and improved targeted radiotherapy have enhanced the quality of life for the breast cancer patients.
Pamela Goldberg, chief executive of the Breast Cancer Campaign, said, "Women now had a much better chance of surviving breast cancer.
"As well as drugs like Herceptin and aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole and letrozole, patients can also benefit from better cosmetic results which can have a significant psychological impact.
"While a cure for everyone may still be out of our reach, a move towards breast cancer being a lifelong manageable condition could be round the corner," Ms Goldberg said.
The survival rate has gone up from 57%, 20 years back, to 80% now. It was revealed at the conference that of the 41,000 breast cancer patients in the U.K., 80% of them will survive be alive in 5 years.
Nearly 3,700 fresh cases of breast cancer are reported every year in Scotland and it claims nearly 1000 lives each year.
Professor Alastair Thompson, a surgeon at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, said, "Specialists hope to create even more treatments with more studies.
"We are starting to see some encouraging results from our research strategy," he said.
Professor John Toy, medical director of Cancer Research UK, said: "New methods of prevention, screening and diagnosis, and new generations of targeted and tailored drugs and treatments, could hugely improve cancer survival rates in the next decade and beyond.
"The majority of women treated for early breast cancer already have an excellent outlook, but efforts to achieve yet better outcomes must continue."
Dr Alexis Willett, from Breakthrough Breast Cancer, added: "Breast cancer is a complex disease but progress is being made all the time in understanding it. This is resulting in real differences for patients."