Buddy Check 7: Survivor and doctor discuss promising cancer research findings

Published: Feb. 7, 2019 at 9:18 PM CST
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Recent figures from the American Cancer Society show some promising news, cancer death rates are declining.

That includes breast cancer deaths.

"I meet with my oncologist every three months, and we talk about that kind of outcome every visit," breast cancer survivor, Debbie Rohowetz explained.

That kind of outcome is survival, and beating breast cancer, which is exactly what Debbie did.

She's part of a group of survivors, a growing group, according to new statistics from the American Cancer Society.

Data released in January, shows that breast cancer death rates declined 40% from 1989 to 2016 among women.

Doctors at Marshfield Clinic say the positive findings over the past 25 years can be broken down into two categories, early stage and more advanced.

"The importance is detection. People get mammograms on a yearly basis, self examinations, a healthy diet and going to their providers," Dr. Demet Gokalp Yasar explained.

The oncologist said that helps bring early cancer numbers down, but even later diagnosed cancers are being treated more aggressively.

"Recently, the last couple years, there are so many advances-developed a lot of medications, chemotherapies. There's a lot of research going on and that makes the people life extending," Dr. Gokalp Yasar said.

In Wisconsin alone, it's estimated that just more than 5,200 new cases of breast cancer in women will occur this year.

But, Debbie remains hopeful that with new research and early detection, women will beat the disease, just like she did.

"Knowing that there's so many things out there and studies going on, to decrease that death rate is also very encouraging. I've known so many women who have fought that battle and lost, and so that's one of the reasons why staying abreast of what's out there, and what type of treatment, and the protocols that these physicians are following now for all breast cancer patients, is very important," Rohowetz said.