Join Specialist Forum and Eli Lilly for a free CPD accredited webinar on evolving metastatic breast cancer management on 19 July at 19h00. The webinar will be presented by Dr Devan Moodley, medical oncologist, Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre, Johannesburg. CLICK HERE to register for this webinar. 

Specialist Forum and Eli Lilly free CPD accredited webinar

The top five cancers affecting women in South Africa include: breast, cervical, colorectal, uterine and lung cancer, according to statistics from the National Cancer Registry (2016).  

In South African, both breast and cervical cancer have been identified as a national priority with increasing incidences occurring. Worldwide, about 19.4 million women aged 15-years and older are at risk of breast cancer. In 2013, deaths from breast cancer and cancers of the female genital tract, accounted for 0.7% and 1% of all deaths in South Africa, respectively. 

Early diagnosis and initiation of treatment are therefore crucial. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate after diagnosis for people with stage 4 breast cancer is 28%. This percentage is considerably lower than earlier stages. For all stages, the overall five-year survival rate is 90%. 

Treatment options include many of the same treatments as other stages of breast cancer: 

  • Chemotherapy 
  • Radiation therapy 
  • Hormone therapy (with or without small molecule inhibitors) – For patients diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that is hormone receptor-positive, hormonal therapy may be the first line of defense against the disease. As long as the drugs are keeping cancer from progressing, the patient may be kept on the medication for some time. If scans show the progression of cancer, the medical oncologist may switch to another form of hormonal therapy or possibly stop this therapy and pursue a different line of systemic treatment, such as chemotherapy or biologic targeted therapy. 
  • Biologic targeted therapy 
  • Breast surgery.