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Did you know? Breast Surgeon Veronica Ferencz, DO Discusses Breast Cancer Facts


Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it gives us an opportunity to discuss breast cancer and help raise awareness about the disease. Did you know an estimated 268,600 women will be diagnosed in the United States in 2019?  The good news is breast cancer survival has tripled in the past 60 years. 

 Historically, the survival after a breast cancer diagnosis was 25.1%.  That means that in the 1940’s, an astounding 74.9% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer would not be alive 10 years after their diagnosis.  More recent survival rates after breast cancer are higher in the U.S> compared to many other places in the world.  This improvement was made possible by two crucial health care practices. The first, setting up breast cancer screening programs to find cancer at earlier stages and the second, estimating each individual’s risk of cancer to tailor the appropriate screening most likely to detect the disease on an individual basis.  Advancements in technology have allowed diagnostic imaging centers to obtain a clearer picture of the breasts. 

 These improvements have allowed women’s health specialists to increase the detection of early stage breast cancer. In 62% of diagnoses, the cancer is confined to the breast, while 30% of women diagnosed will have spread to regional lymph nodes, and 6% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have distant spread of the disease.  The technology is only part of the improvements. 

In 2018, the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) adopted new staging guidelines to help breast cancer specialists understand individual breast cancers more precisely.  In the new staging system, tumor size, lymph node status, and spread to other parts of the body are still being used, but we’re now additionally utilizing tumor biology (estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 status) and tumor grade.  Studies show this combination is a more accurate staging system, albeit more complex. 

Over the past 60 years, treatments and interdisciplinary care for breast cancer has evolved, allowing us to tailor treatments to individuals instead of using a cookie “one size fits all” treatment for every breast cancer.  We now able to utilize tumor genomics to further specify distant recurrence rates in individual breast cancers to help guide treatment choices for the individual.  Breast specialists have emerged in the treatment of breast cancer and breast cancer research which further contribute to the improvement in breast cancer survival.  According to the most recent data available, five-year survival rates have improved for breast cancer at each stage:

  • Stage 0-1 breast cancers diagnosed have a 5-year survival of 98.8-100%
  • Stage II-III have a five 5-year survival rate of 85.5%
  • Stage IV has a 5-year survival rate of 27.4%

Overall, the survival rate has improved significantly for invasive breast cancer from 25.1% to 89.9% in the U.S. 

Crystal Run Healthcare has been delivering state-of–the-art, interdisciplinary breast cancer treatment for years.  We have added new technologies in the operating rooms and continue to use tumor genomic testing.  Our breast cancer specialists incorporate up-to-date neoadjuvant and adjuvant systemic and local treatments for women and men with breast cancer.  We are committed to treating breast cancer with cutting-edge technology, treatments, and coordinating interdisciplinary services for breast cancer patients in the Hudson Valley region for years to come.



Veronica Ferencz DO, MBA, FACOS, is a Fellowship-trained Breast Surgeon at Crystal Run Healthcare. She earned her Medical Degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia, PA and completed her Surgical Residency at St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, NY. She completed her Fellowship in Breast Surgery at Mount Sinai West/Beth Israel/ St. Luke's in New York, NY. Dr. Ferencz sees patients at Crystal Run’s Monroe and Newburgh Locations.