Recurrence rates are based on exemplar statistical data that is at least 5 years old. It is very accurate in that it is all emperical and historical data. The problem is that it is not very relevant. Your oncologist is your best source of information and reccomendations for a treatment plan that minimizes the risk of recurrence for your specific cancer.
Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma Questions
Recurrence rates - where's the accurate info?
Asked by HearMeRoar on Thursday, March 28, 2013
Recurrence rates - where's the accurate info?
Looking to make good plans and ask the right questions. I'm stage 2a, tumor was 1.5cm 3 positive nodes. ER/PR+. Having 2nd of 6 chemos tomorrow followed by RADS and Tamoxifen. I am all about getting my ovaries out or whatever I need to do to make risk go down as much as possible. Thoughts??
7 Answers from the Community
HMR, my personal advice is to ignore the recurance rate data as it is stastictics and as they say you too can lie with statictics. As an engineer I deal with this kind of data daily on my job and understand that the key is knowing what is relevant to the situation and recorrance rate data averages that are just not relevant to any specific case. Every case is unique and the data is all at least 5 years old so the exact numbers are irrelevant.
If your goal is to minimize the chances of reoccurance (a great goal that we all have) then ask how that can be done and do everything your Drs recommend that you can. Your chemo and radiation are esentially prevenative in nature. The problemn with cancer is that if only one cell escapes, and the sneaky things have a teadancy to do that, it can grow bnad spread. A 1mm tumor contains abnout a billion cells and a tumor must be at leaset 3 mm to be found on a CT or PET scan so as you can see that one little cell is hard to find. Thus anythnig you can do to minimize the chances of reocurrance is worth it.
One bit of caution though is not to get caught up in constant worry about reoccurance. Worry induces stress and stress can make it easier for cancer to occur so the best thing to do is do what is recommended but also to get on with your life and live it to the fullest as we never know what tommorrow brings. Good Luck
I use a very odd statistic....100%....either I'm cancer free or the cancer recurrs....I don't worry about it (except at checkups)....I had my ovaries removed, but that was based on the recommendation of my oncologist.....
My advice is live life to the fullest....life a healthy life....eat healthy, excercise....and don't worry about the numbers.....they are NOT you...the numbers are for groups of people!!!
My thoughts -- be aggressive and do all in your power to fight this evil and elusive enemy. It sounds like you are doing that with Chemo, Rads and Tamoxifen. Once you know that you have given it your best, put it in God's hands. Live your life each day to the fullest. Try not to think of recurrence -- everyone is different so a Recurrence Rate Chart may not even apply to your case. I was told at the beginning my rate was 20% -- but that means 80% chance that it will not and that is where I want to place my hope. After all, as they say, I could get run over by a bus tomorrow!! A positive attitude is so very important -- I believe it is your best weapon of all. I wish you the very best. Keep us updated.
I don't really understand all what nancyjac & peroll said about statistics, but I would definitely agree with the others on making each day count! Enjoy life now! Even little things! NOBODY knows for sure when we each will die, but we do know our time on earth is limited...I had 5 years of Tamoxifen the first bout of b/c, but got a different kind of b/c nine years later. In fact, my onc agreed that I'd done everything possible to avoid more cancer, but---I got it anyway. He also told me that "they" now recommend TEN years of Tamoxifen; you might want to ask your onc about that. Meanwhile, enjoy the daffodils of spring and say those things you have always meant to say to your loved ones...make each day count! I think we all live with our fingers crossed, but to me, it seems more rewarding (and livable) to live each day to its potential. :-)
Have you ever heard that saying, "When you give someone a hammer, everything looks like a nail?" No two cancers are identical even if the diagnosis is the same, and while one option might work for another, it might not work for you. Who can say what your chances of recurrence might be? If you fit the profile and your cancer type, stage and grade were the same as all participants in the study that deduced the statistical average for recurrence, what are the odds that they have the same co-morbidities or genetic makeup? As A nurse that specializes in gyne cancers, I think it is great that you at least considered a hysterectomy because I do have patients with both ovarian and breast primaries. Only your oncologist knows your case, and can really tell you what % your risk is. I wish you the best of luck in your journey. I am confident that once you discuss this with your oncologist you will make the right decision...an informed one. Carm RN.
SEER stat collects information on survival rates. It's "the" epidemiological stat database for cancer in the US. Check that.
I'm not sure that getting your ovaries out will do much, of course your oncologist knows best.
An aromatase inhibitor (such as Femara) correlates with less recurrance than Tamoxifen for post menopausal women. Thats one big change you can make when/if in menopause.
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