Breast cancer survival rates are measured from the date of diagnosis. Research has shown that the risk of recurrence for triple-negative breast cancer is highest up to three years after diagnosis; at that point, it drops significantly.
In one study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, researchers followed 1,601 women for up to 8.1 years. 180 of these women (11.2%) had triple-negative breast cancer.

Compared with other women with breast cancer, those with triple-negative breast cancer had an increased likelihood of distant recurrence…within 5 years of diagnosis but not thereafter. The pattern of recurrence was also qualitatively different; among the triple-negative group, the risk of distant recurrence peaked at 3 years and declined rapidly thereafter.

And according to the National Cancer Institute, survival rates are measured from time of diagnosis. Some definitions:
Cancer-specific Survival: The period from diagnosis until death from the same cancer, whether the original lesion or to a second primary, same cancer or related causes. (Adapted from DJA Punt et. al., 2007)

Disease Free Survival, Disease Free Interval
:The period from date of diagnosis until date of first recurrence, loco-regional or systemic. (RTOG)

Overall Survival
:The period from date of diagnosis until death from any cause. (RTOG)

Progression Free Survival, Progression Free Interval
: The period during and after treatment in which a participant is living with a disease that does not get worse. Typically it is the period from date of diagnosis until 1) loco-regional or systemic recurrence, 2) second malignancy, or 3) death from any cause; late deaths not related to cancer or its treatment are excluded. (RTOG)
Read more about TNBC in my book, Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

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4 thoughts on “FAQ: Are Breast Cancer Survival Rates Measured from Diagnosis or the End of Treatment?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Mary: Thanks for writing–and congrats on the 4.5 years. Whooheeee. Let me know how the acupuncture works. I swear by it, but I have never tried it for anything hormone-related.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for keeping this blog and sharing so much information. In two weeks it will have been 4 1/2 years since I was diagnosed with TNBC. I was 36 at the time with a 4-year-old and a newborn. After a bilateral mastectomy, I continued to work full time while undergoing chemo. I would not have made it through without the support of my amazing husband, family, and friends. I just found your blog while researching HRT. I was considering bio-identical hormones to relieve symptoms of chemo-induced early menopause but instead am looking into accupuncture/accupressure. Thank you again for taking the time to share such great information.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Teresa: Three years!!!!!! Yay. Congrats.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Interesting information. Particularly as I approach the 3 year anniversary (January 28th) of my lumpectomy to remove…yep, triple negative breast cancer. I take comfort in your words. Thank you.

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