5yr question??

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eihtak
eihtak Member Posts: 1,473 Member
Sometimes I feel so ignorant. Someone asked me to explain what is meant when after many treatments it the term 5yr survivor is used. Obviosly it speaks for itself, but what happens after that. Does it mean that (said drug) has a certain survival percentage of people who live 5yrs and than usually die shortly after or do most studies just not continue long after that, or is it just a fact that too many cancer patients of all sorts just don't survive more than that....because that doesn't seem true. I'll have to come back with an actual quote to better ask this maybe, any thoughts??

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  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
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    Very good questions
    Back in Nov. of this year I asked my oncologist this very question and wrote his answer down, this is what he said.

    "5 years got ingrained because it is a National Statistical reporting point for cancer: For breast cancer the main risk is about a 10 year risk period beyond which there is a 1 to 2 percent risk of recurrence. Different cancers have different times to them based on their behavior. With breast cancer you can never really say a woman is cured no matter how long It has been so it is important to be diligent you keep on top of things."

    I hope this was helpful, it cleared things up for me as I have never felt like after 5 years I was good to go. I see cancer as a type of chronic illness we have to always be watching for so we can find it early and squash it because it gets a hold on us.

    RE
  • JuJuBeez
    JuJuBeez Member Posts: 332
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    Thanks for asking that
    Thanks for asking that question. I never totally understood why 5 is the 'it' number. I've got 3 years to go!
  • disneyfan2008
    disneyfan2008 Member Posts: 6,583 Member
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    great question!!! I found
    great question!!! I found THIS SITE TO find out if I was/ am survivor...I never considered myself one until friend said she was as soon as she has sugery on leg. Then IT got me to thinking..I always said I had cancer...not survived...this site is great and each day learn something new...

    Denise
  • tufi000
    tufi000 Member Posts: 745 Member
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    All of this is true but...
    You should know it's really all about money. Insurance companies needed something that could be put in a matrix of their actuarial accounting methods to determine rates, costs, etc.Funding for research...same; they need a cutoff as budgets and grants cannot be infinite and need an end date/goal So, in addition to the great info here, my onc never said I was cancer free either for the reasons mentioned, I find it helpful to "follow the money" so I know it isn't all about me and my prognosis.
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
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    It is very different for each patient...
    No!, it does NOT mean that patients pass away shortly after reaching that 5-year mark.

    However, "the numbers" are uniquely different for each of us. So, only your own doctor can provide your own personal statistics (based on your DX, stage, etc.).

    Me, for example: am now almost 9 years out from first DX. And I remain at 20% risk of recurrence, which is where all treatment (surgery, chemo, rads, oral meds) got me. That 20% risk does not begin to diminish until 10 years - after which it'll reduce by only a fraction of one percentage point annually. Am currently 54 years old; therefore, will remain at relatively high risk for the rest of my life.

    Again - this is different for each of us.

    Kind regards, Susan
  • Rague
    Rague Member Posts: 3,653 Member
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    No you will not die after 5 yrs.
    As I've been told it is quite the opposite. Most (not all) reoccurances happen within the first 5 yrs after DX so after 5 yrs you can 'breathe a little easier. Different types of BC have different prognosis for getting to 5 yrs. The over all for all BC combined is 87% while for IBC it's 25% of making it to 5 yrs.

    So no - after 5 yrs you aren't going to die. It was believed that estrogen blockers were only needed for 5 yrs but the newer research shows that some will not necessarily go off of estrogen blockers at 5 yrs. - already know I'll never be off of Femara.

    Winyan - The Power Within

    Susan
  • eihtak
    eihtak Member Posts: 1,473 Member
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    Rague said:

    No you will not die after 5 yrs.
    As I've been told it is quite the opposite. Most (not all) reoccurances happen within the first 5 yrs after DX so after 5 yrs you can 'breathe a little easier. Different types of BC have different prognosis for getting to 5 yrs. The over all for all BC combined is 87% while for IBC it's 25% of making it to 5 yrs.

    So no - after 5 yrs you aren't going to die. It was believed that estrogen blockers were only needed for 5 yrs but the newer research shows that some will not necessarily go off of estrogen blockers at 5 yrs. - already know I'll never be off of Femara.

    Winyan - The Power Within

    Susan

    Very helpful ....
    Thank you all for the variety of insightful answers. Though I am realistic, I never felt like it was all downhill after 5 years. I am not only recovering from BC, but also 1yr post treatment for Anal cancer. We really were just curious on how the 5yr mark fit in because it is also used when discussing my Anal cancer and even my husband who is recovering from a bone marrow transplant for Multiple Myeloma. I think in this case Tufi was correct in the relationship with insurance and funding. Very interesting though, so I welcome any more input. As always, all in my prayers.
  • New Flower
    New Flower Member Posts: 4,294
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    eihtak said:

    Very helpful ....
    Thank you all for the variety of insightful answers. Though I am realistic, I never felt like it was all downhill after 5 years. I am not only recovering from BC, but also 1yr post treatment for Anal cancer. We really were just curious on how the 5yr mark fit in because it is also used when discussing my Anal cancer and even my husband who is recovering from a bone marrow transplant for Multiple Myeloma. I think in this case Tufi was correct in the relationship with insurance and funding. Very interesting though, so I welcome any more input. As always, all in my prayers.

    estrogen blockers
    aromatase inhibitors was tested and approved by FDA for 5 years only. Clinical studies for Tamoxifen showed than going beyond 5 years significantly increase a chance for uterine cancer. Therefore it is recommended for 5 years only. As Rena has mentioned 5 years is the Reporting National statistic across all cancers. Each type and stage has its own specific numbers.
    I also was told by my doctor that recurrence from initial diagnosis directly indicates the aggressiveness of cancer and ability to control it. As longer patient stays with NED the more controllable the cancer is.
    Wishing everyone to stay with NED forever
  • jnl
    jnl Member Posts: 3,869 Member
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    JuJuBeez said:

    Thanks for asking that
    Thanks for asking that question. I never totally understood why 5 is the 'it' number. I've got 3 years to go!

    Yes, great questions! Thank
    Yes, great questions! Thank you for asking and for the great replies.


    Leeza