New study reveals decreasing breast cancer death rates

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The American Cancer Society reported Oct. 3 that breast cancer death rates have declined 40 percent between the years 1989 to 2015.

The report attributed the decline to both improvement in treatments and early detection by mammography.

According to the Washington Post, a breast cancer surgeon out of California also said that the advances in treatment include better chemotherapy regimens administered post-surgery that reduce the risk of recurrence.

Dr. Kathryn Arrambide, a medical oncologist at Rapid City Regional Health’s John Vucurevich Cancer Care Institute, said not only has treatment become more advanced, but women are also becoming more aware of the disease.

"Women have gotten much more aware,” Arrambide said. “Women are pretty powerful advocates for themselves. And the breast cancer community is very active at advocating for itself. There's still a lot of research to do. We don't really understand a lot about the fundamental biology of what makes one breast cancer sit still and another one spread to all kinds of places."

But even with improvements, the death toll remains high. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in U.S. women. Around 252,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the United States this year, with 40,000 women expected to die of the disease.

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