Too Good To Be True?


Have you seen those commercials which are now being aired for the Komen 3 day walk?  What surprised me most, is the claim that there has been a 30% drop in breast cancer mortality rates since the early 90’s. Call me skeptical if you will, but to me that sounds too good to be true…….(“Hello, this is your Captain calling, you just won a free cruise!”)  I usually avoid the politics of breast cancer, because trust me, it can get uggggglllyyy!  But this is one time I feel that I can use my powers as a super-blogger to help set the record straight.

I would love to impress you all to pieces with my knowledge of statistics, but hey, I can barely help my kid with grade 2 math…..well it is the NEW math ya know!  So, if you are interested in learning the REAL stats, I have added a link to the latest post by MBCNbuzz:



11 thoughts on “Too Good To Be True?

  1. Those numbers certainly are confusing, and I suspect Komen is stretching the truth to help bail out its sinking ship. Thanks for bringing this to light (and for letting me know I’m not the only one who struggles with the kids’ math homework!).

  2. I agree that the statistics are very confusing to the average,nonmathmatical Joe,like myself :).
    And guaranteed,you can’t take everything you read for granted without a little research.However, I a 10 year Breast Cancer warrior,turned survivor in 2003,turned back to warrior in2009.I am still living in Warrior mode and will continue to do so indefinitely.
    I am one of the statistics of Metastatic breast cancer and together with my friend who is in the same situation,have formed a support group for woman living with metastatic breast cancer.We have called the group Sharing Hoping Empowering or SHE for short.We are a small but mighty group.All statistics aside,10 years ago when I started this journey there was no cause to have a specific support for people living with mets because people just Didnt live that long after diagnosis for the most part.I have been part of a larger support group over the 10 years and there certainly were people who were diagnosed with mets there but they passed away in a very short time after diagnosis.Fast forward to last year in the Spring of 2012 my friend and I attended a Living Beyond Breast Cancer conference in Philidelphia for women living with mets.There were 200 such warriors just sitting in that little room!It was so empowering.One of the research panelists got up to greet us and said 10 years ago a room full of women such as ourselves may not have happened but thanks to the discovery of new drug therapies such as Herceptin here we all are.I left that conference feeling very hopefully for my future.In fact one of the new,targeted therapy drugs,TDM1,is about to be approved for use here in Canada.Also we had nutrition and lifestyle workshops that were geared around how you can take a proactive roll in healing your body.
    As you’ve said Florence,I’m no mathematician when it comes to statistics but I am living proof that there is hope for us living with mets and I believe there has been progress in,if not curing this disease,than certainly be able to live with it instead of dying from it.
    Thank you Florence for your continuing inspiration.I count a positive attitude and lots of laughter as 2 of my tools in this battle and you’ve certainly helped with that in your blog!
    I just looked up the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundations latest Stastics about mortality in this disease and in case anyone is still interested in stats here’s a few more that look somewhat similar to the ones from above.Take care.
    CBCF Website:
    “Fewer Canadian women are dying from breast cancer today than in the past. Breast cancer mortality rates have decreased by almost 40 percent since the peak in 1986 due to earlier detection through regular mammography screening, advances in screening technology, and improved treatments.

    The significant decline in breast cancer mortality rates suggests that there has been important progress in cancer control. Cancer control aims to reduce the expected number of new diagnoses, reduce the severity of illness, enhance the quality of life for those diagnosed, and reduce the likelihood of dying from the disease. In relation to breast cancer, advancements in earlier detection are an aspect of cancer control efforts that have been particularly successful. When women are diagnosed at earlier stages of the disease, more treatment options are available, that women have a better chance at surviving the disease.

    While over half of the new cases of breast cancer will occur in women between ages 50 and 69, more deaths from breast cancer will occur in women 80 years of age or older than in any other age group. This means that women who are diagnosed and treated in their 50s are living into their 80s, demonstrating the benefits of breast cancer screening which can detect breast cancer earlier when a broader range of effective treatment options can increase survival. “

    • Sharon, thanks for your thorough response. I have great faith in the CBCF and what they report. The word “cancer” was once considered an automatic death sentence. People like you give hope to the rest of us. Thanks!

  3. Hi all,
    Florence thanks for sharing Ginny’s post from MBCN. (This is Katherine, MBCN Secretary, commenting.)

    One note of caution, while there have been advancements (like Herceptin) there’s a flipside to early detection. Better imaging technology means we are seeing and treating breast cancer earlier. But the problem is, as Ginny stated, we don’t which breast cancer will spread or why. Some breast cancer detected on mammography is potentially so slow growing that no treatment is required. But since we don’t what causes breast cancer to spread, we treat it. Better to over treat than under live…

    While some some cancer subtypes have improved treatment, others do not. Inflammatory breast cancer, for example, presents without a lump and is generally diagnosed at Stage 3 or Stage 4. IBC. Mammography wouldn’t help. IBC, which is often mistaken for mastistis, accounts for about 3-6% of all breast cancer cases. IBC has a three-year survival rate of 42 % vs. 85% for non-IBC disease.

    One other sobering thought about mammography. ..By the time cancer can be seen via a mammogram, it may have been in your body for 6 to 10 years. As NBCC says: “…to make true progress in breast cancer we need to better understand what causes this disease, what puts individual women at risk beyond the known risk factors, how different types of breast cancer behave, and which treatments are appropriate and effective for each type of breast cancer to ensure that women receive quality care.”

  4. All this information is truly wonderful……isn’t it fantastic how in this modern electronic age we can instantly to share information and experiences. In 1992 people had no way to share information like this, (we read outdated information in libraries),or become part of knowledgeable support groups or reakize 5 people within 20 miles were fighting as well………..perhaps the biggest contribution to reducing the mortality statistic is simply sharing the knowledge on prevention, understanding cancer, fighting it, treatments and acquiring the power to fight on. Having been part of this fight, even in these recent times it really seems without these avenues or understanding of the use of these communication avenues…..people are still islands out there, allowing themselves to be dealt with by the system. In this exchange of knowledge it allows people to be there own warrior, be the determining force in there battle and most importantly greatly improve their chances of not adding to that mortality statistic…..Cancer Warrior- Wing Man

  5. I left this same comment on the linked article:

    I have two statements on this:

    1. I am in marketing and can tell you that it is possible spin any number anyway you want it to sound.

    2. I never trust a word Komen says.

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