Long-term ER-negative survivors?

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Question from Chat: Seems I run across a lot of ER-negatives looking for long-term survivors to give them hope. Is our future really worse than ER-positive? Are there long-term survivors?
Answers - Kathy D. Miller, M.D. Absolutely there are long-term survivors with ER-negative tumors! The timing of recurrence between ER-negative and ER-positive tumors is the biggest difference. The risk of recurrence with ER-negative tumors is highest in the first few years after diagnosis with a much lower risk of recurrence later. In women with ER-positive tumors, the risk of recurrence is lower in those earlier years, but is more constant. Most women who develop a recurrence more than five years after an initial diagnosis of breast cancer have ER-positive breast cancers.

So whether the risk of recurrence is higher with ER-negative cancer depends on when you look. If you look at the cumulative risk of recurrence at five years, there is a higher risk of recurrence with an ER-negative tumor. But if you look at the cumulative risk of recurrence at 10 or 15 years after diagnosis, there is very little, if any, difference.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Hormone-Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer featured Kathy D. Miller, M.D., Marisa Weiss, M.D., and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about a wide range of issues related to hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in November 2005.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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