Q:

Is breast cancer fatal?

A:

Quick Answer

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer can be fatal if it is not detected early enough, does not respond well to treatment, or it has spread to other organs. A person's prognosis will often depend on the stage at which the cancer is first detected. There are five main stages of cancer, each with an associated 5-year survival rate which ranges from 100 to 22 percent.

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Full Answer

According to the American Cancer Society, as of May 2014, the 5-year survival rates for breast cancer stages are as follows:

  • Stage 0: Carcinoma in situ is the earliest stage of breast cancer, where the cancer is found in the ducts of the breast. It has a 5-year survival rate of 100 percent.
  • Stage 1: Early stage breast cancer also has a 5-year survival rate of 100 percent.
  • Stage 2: Is still considered an earlier stage of breast cancer, and has a 5-year survival rate of 93 percent.
  • Stage 3: Locally advanced breast cancer, which has a 5-year survival rate of 73 percent.
  • Stage 4: Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage and has a 5-year survival rate of only about 22 percent.

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