A new study has found that breast cancer survivors prevalence in the Canadian female population has doubled and that there are 2.5 times more survivors since the last estimate in 2007.
In collaboration with Katarzyna Jerzak, a medical oncologist at Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre and assistant professor in the department of medicine in U of T’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Amy Kirkham, an assistant professor in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (KPE) embarked on a new study that would determine an up-to-date estimate of the prevalence of breast cancer survivors in Canada in 2022 using the Canadian Cancer Society’s annual cancer statistic reports.
A Comprehensive Review of Breast Cancer Survival
The study, recently published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, found that in the 15-year span from 2007 to 2021, there were 370,756 patients (2.1 percent of the adult female population in Canada in 2022) diagnosed with breast cancer and 86 percent of these women would have survived breast cancer by 2022.
“The most common cause of death in women with breast cancer is heart disease,” Kirkham says.
To demonstrate the excess health-care costs related to heart disease, Kirkham and Jerzak performed an additional analysis using Canadian data on rates of hospitalization for heart failure and their costs. They found that two percent of the women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2007 and 2021 would likely experience heart failure hospitalization costing $66.5 million in total. As much as 25 percent of these costs, or $16.5 million, were in excess of those costs that would be associated with women who did not have breast cancer.
“Given the excess health-care costs, potential for reduced contributions to the workforce and reduced quality of life associated with long-term side effects and risk of excess death among breast cancer survivors, our work highlights that there is a growing segment of the population who require services to support recovery following breast cancer treatment,” says Kirkham.
“The goal of my research lab is to develop new therapies to improve the health of women after surviving breast cancer.”
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