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5 year and recurrence percentage

I have read about the chances of recurrence is a higher percentage during the first 5 years. But what I can't find out is when do I start counting. Is it when I've had my surgery? When I finished my chemo? If I am on an aromatase inhibiter, do I start my count when I have finished them? When did you start counting?

Thanks

P.S. Tomorrow will be my last appointment with my Plastic Surgeon. It will be a happy/sad day. Happy that it's my last appointment but sad as my Plastic Surgeon has by far been my favorite Doctor. I am not going to miss the hour long drive though. I am expecting tears to flow.

16 Replies
Runner Girl
2044 Posts

Hi @Buffythevampire

I believe you start counting from your date of diagnosis. But I could be wrong. See what others chime in with.

@Lianne_Moderator @JustJan @supersu @ashcon @Kims1961

Are you gifting your plastic surgeon with a thank you card? I bet that would really be appreciated these days.

Runner Girl

@Runner Girl I tried googling it but there wasn't one answer. It depended on what site you looked at.

Runner Girl
2044 Posts

@Buffythevampire

I found this (US stats from 01-21):

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The average 5-year survival rate for women with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer is 90%. The average 10-year survival rate for women with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer is 84%.

If the invasive breast cancer is located only in the breast, the 5-year survival rate of women with this disease is 99%. Sixty-three percent (63%) of women with breast cancer are diagnosed with this stage. Adolescent and young adult females ages 15 to 39 in the United States are less likely to be diagnosed at an early stage of breast cancer (47%) compared to women older than 65 (68%). This may be because most breast cancer screening does not begin until age 40 unless someone is at a higher risk.

If the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 86%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 28%.

Which is all well and good, but as we all know we are all individuals and the power of positivity goes a long way to keeping us well!

Nan1
59 Posts
Hi:

I had the same question and was told by my Oncologist that the 5 years starts from the time of diagnosis.

Nan1

@Runner Girl Yes I have a card, just finding the right words to put in it. And with Covid I had to rethink a gift but I think I settled on individually wrapped chocolates. One box for the Doctor and one box for the office staff.

@Buffythevampire

I don't believe it is an exact science by any means. I do my own count where I celebrate being cancer free/NED which was 13 days after I completed radiation. I remember at 5 years I celebrated for this recurrence stat, but I also celebrated every one before because…you can't get to 5 without 1-4 😊 And my thought was if it is from date of diagnosis, I am already ¾+ of the way to 6 years.

I brought my radiation team gifts when I finished because I felt like I really got to know them going 5 days a weeks for 5 ½ weeks. I know they really appreciated it and years later I was doing a speaking engagement as a patient advocate to a group of radiation techs and on the break, I heard someone talking behind me and I recognized the voice as one of the techs. I was able to tell him again how much I appreciated them. He didn't recognize me as I actually had hair lol

Lianne

Thanks for the tag @Runner Girl

JustJan
933 Posts

@Buffythevampire,

I’m honestly not really sure when NED status is determined and it may depend on your circumstances. For me I had two primary cancers so I have decided to use my last chemo date after my second cancer as my date for both. Some people choose their surgery date after the cancer has been removed, others like @Lianne_Moderator choose their last radiation treatment as their date, others will choose chemo dates. I don’t think there is one right way. You could ask your oncologist and see what they say but even oncologists don’t agree. I don’t believe they use the date from finishing long term medications like your aromatase inhibitor.

I’m not sure this was helpful but it’s my best guess.

Just as I thought different answers. My family Doctor is taking it from the day I was discharged from BC Cancer.

When I finished my chemo, I gave the nurses chocolates also. My Plastic Surgeon is the only one that I will be giving a card.

supersu
433 Posts

@Buffythevampire

happy to celebrate with you, (from the sidelines), your last appointment today!

I am hopeful that ALL healthcare workers feel appreciated by us right now, but thank you so much for your kindness of the card and sweet treats---you will probably make someones day/week with your generosity. #mwah

re: 5 years? I would start the clock at day of dx.

best
su

#celebrate #kindnessiseverything

At my last appointment, I asked my Plastic Surgeon about when to start the count and he had said the end of chemo/radiation. I think that I am going to use the month of October. October 2018 was when I had my lumpectomy and October 2020 is when I was discharged from BC Cancer. I will start my count from October 2020.

A few things that I asked today:

  1. I have an indent at the top of my breast on my mastectomy side. I was told it happened during the mastectomy. I asked what was involved with filling it. It would have to be filled by a Plastic Surgeon with fat grafting or moving the implant higher.
  2. I asked if I had chosen a different reconstruction method, would my sensation be different. The sensation or lack of sensation is due to the mastectomy, not the reconstruction method.
  3. When I had my implant placed, my right side was reduced/lifted. I had a surgical drain on my left side and not the right. I asked why not on the right. Basically I was told that there was no foreign object on that side and the body just had to heal.
  4. I wanted to know how to look would be affected with age/weight loss. He told me to live my life, my body has been through lots and in time if I was really concerned to give him a call.
    He's the best!! I am going to miss talking to him.

My Doctor was running late that day and I ended up being at least 30-60 minutes past my appointment time. When I got down to my car, I had a parking ticket. NUTS!! I called the phone number on the ticket and got it reduced by $10. I guess my sob story wasn't good enough to get it cancelled.

While at the Doctor's office I got to chatting with another patient. It was her last appointment too and she had the same first name as me. She went through a lot though, 16 surgeries to get where she is today.

JustJan
933 Posts

@Buffythevampire sounds like you had a good appointment aside from the parking ticket. Now it’s time to go and live your life.

There is a forum on here called The Next Chapter-Living well after cancer that you may want to check out. It can be found at this link: https://cancerconnection.ca/discussions/viewcategory/80

Wishing you all the best.

supersu
433 Posts

@Buffythevampire
thank you for the update…it is so lovely to follow along with the stories of our cancer connection pals.

ha!!!! I LOVE your plastic surgeon too…..best advice evah: just live your life!
can't argue that, right!?

I exclaimed out LOUD about your new friend and her SIXTEEN surgeries….oh my goodness--that is a patient patient!

there is no tougher wall to penetrate than that of a parking attendant - kudo's to you for the $10 reduction. melting that heart of stone just a little was a true coup! ha ha

enjoy the rest of the week, and the rest of your life!
hope to see you posting/commenting around this community often.

cheers/hugs
su

#cancerconnectionpals #plasticsurgery #liveyourlife

@Runner Girl the women that I was talking to at the Doctor's office had a similar experience as you. When she got her diagnosis, her boyfriend left and took the new puppy.

Runner Girl
2044 Posts

@Buffythevampire

Oh that just makes my blood boil. He could have at least left the puppy to help her get thru it all.

Mine showed up on my doorstep in 2020 with a card and letter asking me back with conditions. Told him I'd already moved on.

@Runner Girl I told her the same thing, I'd want the puppy back. The guy, good riddance.

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