Karrison et al (1) described the fate of  1547  breast cancer  patients  treated by mastectomy between 1945-1987. The mean age of the patients at the time of mastectomy was 53.9 years (range, 21-91 years). Sixty-nine percent of the women were white, 30% were black, and 1% were of other races

Fig. 1 in their publication  shows the estimated hazard rate for first recurrence or death from breast cancer, stratified by pathologic stage. The authors conclude that dormant metastatic cells may be present after surgery for years. Note the similarity of the hazard rate computed from the SEER data . Please note that both hazard rates stand for different events. Above is the  hazard for first recurrence or death,  while below is the hazard to die.


1. Karrison TG,. Ferguson DJ, Meier P Dormancy of mammary carcinoma after mastectomy
J. National Cancer Institute, (1999) 91 : 80-85.

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