For a woman, the likelihood of a breast cancer diagnosis is increasing. It accounts for 1 in 11 cancer cases in Europe, and 1 in 8 cancer cases in America, making breast cancer by far the most common type of cancer diagnosis.
Every year, one million women will be told by their doctor that they have breast cancer. In 2020, 355,457 new cases of the disease were diagnosed in the EU-27 alone, with the most common group being those aged 45-69. That figure doesn’t make for comfortable reading. Physical inactivity, obesity, reproductive factors, poor nutrition, and alcohol intake all increase the chances of developing cancer. What also accounts for the figures, however, is the increased access to screening.
Patients are becoming more clued-up on what they need to be looking for, asking for, and doing when it comes to breast care; so we need to make sure we’re giving them the best possible outcomes from testing.
Whilst we have many hardworking teams of professionals and a healthy amount of breast care initiatives to boost the survivability of breast cancer, nearly 400,000 women die from the ravages of the disease every single year. In 2020, almost one quarter of those deaths (91,826) were in the EU-27. The five-year survival rate (the term attributed to the instances of women living beyond five years after their breast cancer diagnosis) was lowest in Eastern Europe, and highest in Western and Northern Europe. The incidence and mortality rates vary significantly across the EU-27, so it’s clear there are disparities in our approach to screening, diagnosis and treatment.
Today’s science shows that the development of cancer is a multi-step process of changes or mutations in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells. These genes are present in each cell’s nucleus and regulate the activity of each cell. In healthy tissue, the cells in our bodies replace themselves through an orderly process of cell growth: healthy new cells take over as old ones die out.
Over time, mutations can “switch on” certain genes and “switch off” others. Cells changed in this way may show abnormal cell growth and cell features, leading to formation of tumours - and the infiltration of these tumours into surrounding tissue. The ability to infiltrate and spread into healthy tissues distinguishes a malignant tumour from a benign tumour.
Based on these insights, we find ourselves in a world where breast cancer simply cannot be considered as one single disease, or one that can be treated with a generic approach. Instead, it’s become evident that different molecular subtypes of breast cancer require a different treatment approach in each case.
Once you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, with the new tools available to modern medicine you will receive a detailed diagnosis, which can then be turned into a specific and personalized treatment plan. This part of the journey is why the initial diagnosis is key and why we are working hard to make it as accurate as possible.
MammaTyper® is the best first step your clinician can take when deciding your treatment.