RSVP Magazine

BEATING BREAST CANCER: survival rates of 75-82% over the last five years but do you know the warning signs


Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for Irish women – with one woman in every nine affected by it. However, Irish research is leading the way with breakthrough advancements. At Breast Cancer Ireland, we are transforming the prognosis from being potentially fatal, with 680 deaths annually, to being a treatable illness with an increase in survival rates of 75-82% over the last five years.

In 2012, Breast Cancer Ireland decided to lead and fund an initiative for the recruitment of specialist breast cancer research nurses within Breast Cancer Ireland’s designated cancer centres, whose role is to collaborate in the collection of patient tissue and serum samples into one large centralised area, so that clinicians and scientists nationally can avail of them.


As a result, we have seen research publications quadruple annually and we have seen a significant shift towards the provision of personalised and tailored treatment plans for patients who have been diagnosed. There’s no longer any need for a one-size-fits-all treatment plan, because we now know that every patient’s breast cancer is highly personal to their genetic make-up and, as such, requires a personalised approach.

In just five years the following significant advances have been made

Increase in survival rates 75-82%.

Increase in research publications from 1 every 24 months – to 5 within 12 months.

Ongoing involvement in International clinical trials – using a combination of drugs – for particular cancer patients –showing 60% tumour eradication.

Reduction in the amount of patients requiring Chemotherapy. With the arrival of sophisticated blood tests patients can avail of the oncotype testing that looks at a series of genes in each individual tumour that will show the best course of treatment relative to the tumour presented.

Breast Cancer Ireland’s investment in the country’s first Intra-Operative Radiotherapy Device…instead of a patient having to return to hospital for five weeks daily for radiotherapy – we can extend initial surgery time by 20 minutes, for certain cancer patients and then they can go home to recover.

Investment in education and awareness programmes – Breast Cancer Ireland recruited an Outreach Nurse Coordinator – for Transition Year schools awareness and women’s groups nationally – where presentations are offered, showing how to perform a self-examination and which are the key signs and symptoms to look out for. The key is knowing what is normal in your body, so that if an abnormality occurs, it will be detected quicker and the outcome will be much more positive.



To support Breast Cancer Ireland’s ongoing research efforts and the provision of education and awareness programmes nationally on the importance of good breast health, please visit

Breast Cancer Ireland, 123 St Stephens Green, Dublin 2

Tel: 01 402 2747 | Website:

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