Breast cancer survivors underestimate recurrence risk

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 49 , No. 9 , November 2007 , Pages 506 News

Despite their fight with breast cancer and the wealth of resources available, survivors remain uninformed of the risk of cancer recurrence, according to a new Canadian survey. The survey, led by the Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) and conducted by Ipsos Reid, shows that only one in 10 women surveyed is aware of their risk of relapse after 5 years of tamoxifen treatment.

Results from the survey show that women with breast cancer need more information: 
• Half of breast cancer survivors did not feel they were provided with information about their risk of recurrence.
• Four women in 10 felt cured after 5 years of tamoxifen therapy, previously used as the standard course of treatment for breast cancer.
• Half of women surveyed did not receive information about prescription treatments that could reduce their risk. 
•  The 5-year survival rate is now 86%. Treatment and better organized breast-screening programs are being attributed to a 25% decline in breast cancer death rates since 1986.

The survey was administered online and by mail 12 April to 28 May 2007 to breast cancer survivors who completed 4 years of standard therapy for the treatment of early, non-metastatic breast cancer. Invitations to complete either online or mail-back surveys were sent to women from a list obtained from the Canadian Breast Cancer Network and qualifying Ipsos Online Household Panel Members. Breast cancer associations, including CBCN, also posted invitations to complete the survey on their web sites. A total of 230 breast cancer survivors responded to the survey, resulting in an overall confidence interval of +/-6.5%.

. Breast cancer survivors underestimate recurrence risk. BCMJ, Vol. 49, No. 9, November, 2007, Page(s) 506 - News.



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