A late-stage breast cancer diagnosis can be devastating.
The five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with stage 0 or 1 breast cancer is nearly 100 percent. But it drops to 73 percent for women diagnosed at stage 3, and to 22 percent at stage 4, according to the American Cancer Society.
The financial costs are equally troubling.
Breast cancer treatment is significantly more expensive for those with advanced stages of the disease, according to a 2016 study published in the journal American Health and Drug Benefits. How significant? The average costs in the year following diagnosis ranged from $60,637 for stage-0 patients to $134,682 for stage-4 patients.
Regular mammograms can be helpful in catching breast cancer early and improving the odds for survival. Women should also report any of the following symptoms to their health care providers, according to the American Cancer Society.
- A new breast lump or mass.
Lumps can be painless or painful, hard with irregular edges, or soft and round.
- Swelling of all or part of a breast – even without a lump.
- Skin irritation or dimpling similar to an orange peel.
- Breast or nipple pain.
- Nipple retraction.
- Redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin.
- Nipple discharge.
- Swelling or lump in the armpit or near the collarbone.
How do you keep an eye out for signs of cancer? Tell us in the comments below.
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