There's good news in the fight against breast cancer. The odds of surviving the disease have been improving, and a new study is pointing to why.
"It was actually stage zero and it was a calcified lesion, so I didn't feel anything on the surface, but it was definitely there," says Sand Sanchez who found breast cancer early.
Sandy's breast tumor was barely a lump when doctors found it, and that's happening more and more for women like sandy. In the largest study of its kind comparing results from nine cancer registries, researchers say the odds of surviving breast cancer today are getting much better, not just because of better treatments, but because more women are looking for lumps and getting annual screenings. In this study, researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering say that finding the tiny tumor accounted for 61 percent of the improvement in survival rates.
"We found that the size of newly diagnosed breast cancers has decreased considerably over time, and the average breast tumor diagnosed today is smaller than it was 25 years ago," says Elena Elkin a Ph.D. and the study's author. The bottom line, early detection is saving lives. An important reminder to others that mammogram could be a life-saving appointment every year after age 40, and that we should teach our daughters to begin breast self exams.