Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatments Have Aided Decline in Deaths, Stanford Medicine-Led Study Finds

Treatment of metastatic disease is responsible for nearly one-third of the decrease in annual deaths from breast cancer from 1975 to 2019, according to a Stanford Medicine-led study published in JAMA.

Deaths from breast cancer dropped 58% between 1975 and 2019 due to a combination of screening mammography and improvements in treatment, according to a new multi-center study led by Stanford Medicine clinicians and biomedical data scientists. Nearly one-third of the decrease (29%) is due to advances in treating metastatic breast cancer — a form that has spread to other areas of in the body and is known as stage 4 breast cancer or recurrent cancer. Although these advanced cancers are not considered curable, women with metastatic disease are living longer than ever. The analysis helps cancer researchers assess where to focus future efforts and resources.

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