BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Oct. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — October is breast cancer awareness month, a time when thousands of people around the world participate in events aimed at supporting breast cancer patients and research into a disease that remains one of the leading causes of death for women in many parts of the world.
At the same time, science has made tremendous strides in the fight against the disease. Despite an increasing number of diagnosed cases (among women and, extremely rarely, men), over the last 20 years advances in diagnostic techniques and an increase in effective treatment options have significantly improved breast cancer survival rates. If discovered early enough, more than 90% of patients will survive at least five years post-diagnosis.
Overall survival rate for breast cancer vary worldwide, but in general survival rates have improved because cases are diagnosed at an earlier and localized stage, and improved surgery and adjuvant treatment (additional cancer treatment given after the primary treatment to lower the risk that the cancer will come back) options are available1.
Much of the progress made concerning breast cancer survival rates has resulted from research that has revealed breast cancer as a far more complex disease than was imagined just a few years ago. As scientists have decoded the human genome, they have been able to learn much more about how cancer works and how it interacts with the body’s immune and hormone systems.
“Our view 20 years ago was that there were two kinds of breast cancer: pre- and post-menopause,” said Laurent Debussche, Head of Sanofi’s Molecular Oncology Research R&D.
“Today with our understanding of human genetics and our ability to analyze massive amounts of data, we can see that there are many more variations – and also better understand how to target them.”