More than 35 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia every day.
Each of these women can receive a treatment which has been proven safe and effective through the clinical trials research process.
Because of this research, the likelihood they will survive longer and free of breast cancer is higher than at any other time in history.
The Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group (ANZBCTG), supported by its fundraising department Breast Cancer Institute of Australia, has for over 30 years conducted Australia’s only collaborative clinical trials research program for the treatment, prevention and cure of breast cancer. Our research has contributed to the 27% fall in deaths from breast cancer seen over the past 20 years.
When the ANZBCTG was established in 1979, almost three quarters of women diagnosed with breast cancer died from their disease. Since this time, there have been significant advances in our understanding of breast cancer, its detection and how it is treated:
– Clinical trials research has established the safety of less surgery for women diagnosed with breast cancer. A radical mastectomy, removal of the entire breast, was the standard surgery for many years. Today, many women can have optimal surgery with a lumpectomy (removal of just the tumour) and this has improved quality of life for many millions of women without compromising their long term survival.
– The introduction of routine mammography screening for women aged 40 and over has resulted in many thousands of lives saved through early detection and prompt treatment.
– The introduction of chemotherapy and hormone therapy after surgery has reduced the risk of breast cancer returning and improved survival.
– Clinical trials research has helped to “tailor” treatments to particular subtypes of breast cancer. The targeted treatment trastuzumab (Herceptin®) for women with a specific type of breast cancer called “HER2-positive” has saved many lives.