Keeping watch on breast cancer

Regular follow-ups prove crucial in patients with a family history of breast cancer

Mary, a 51-year-old woman, has attended your practice for many years along, with her daughter aged 21, son aged 18, and her 75-year-old mother.

Nine years ago, Mary's mother was treated for breast cancer. A year after her mother's diagnosis, Mary found a lump in her right breast.

She underwent conservative surgery for a 4cm Grade II infiltrating ductal carcinoma with negative axillary nodes. The tumour had positive oestrogen (ER) and progesterone (PgR) receptor staining but was negative for HER2.

What was Mary's prognosis?

According to a validated model, predicted 10-year survival for Mary was 83.1%.1 Adjuvant tamoxifen for five years improves this by 4.4% and chemotherapy by another 4.3%.

Aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole, letrozole, exemestane) are not effective before menopause.

Mary received epirubicin, fluorouracil and