Breast Cancer: Are We Still Making Progress?


Are we still making progress against breast cancer?Learning about progress against cancer has been a main theme here on After Twenty Years since I started this blog about five years ago. One of my first posts in 2013 was a look back at progress against breast cancer in the twenty years since I had been diagnosed.

Now, as we come to the end of 2018, let’s take another look back, but this time let’s focus on what we’ve seen in progress against breast cancer over the last five years or so.

But first: what might real “progress” against breast cancer actually look like? Personally, these are some things I would be looking for:

  • Are mortality rates from breast cancer declining — are fewer people dying from breast cancer?
  • Do we have new ways of treating breast cancer that are more effective and less toxic?
  • Are we closer to being able to say that anyone who needs treatment can expect to receive high quality care?
  • Are we better able to detect breast cancer “early” — when it can often be treated more effectively?
  • Are fewer people getting breast cancer in the first place — are we learning how to prevent the disease?

So let’s review some of the things that have stood out about progress in each of these areas over the last few years, most of which we’ve talked about here on the blog. I’ll include links to the relevant posts as we go along. Continue reading

Breast Cancer: How Much Progress Have We Made?

How much progress have we really made against breast cancer?It’s October, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month in now well underway. As always during October, we’re surrounded by pink products, business promotions displaying the pink ribbon and pink-themed advertising–all in the name of breast cancer “awareness”. But how much real awareness does all this bring? Does it actually help patients at all?

Why not take a step back from all the craziness for a moment and take a look at where we actually are in the fight against breast cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been around for 30 years. It seems fair to ask: with all this awareness, how much progress have we actually made against breast cancer? And if it’s not enough: how can we, or will we, do better? Continue reading