The timeline of breast cancer care and therapy is marked by significant milestones that have transformed patient outcomes and the way we approach this devastating disease as shown in the figure here. From the pioneering mastectomy procedures of the late 19th century to the development of targeted therapies specifically blocking the drivers of breast cancer such as ER, PR, HER2 personalized medicine has come a long way in recent years. The diagnosis and therapy guidance of breast cancer has evolved now to 4 major subtypes with personalized treatment strategies that are tailored to individual patient’s tumour characteristics and aggressiveness.
Breakthroughs in chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, most recently immunotherapy, along with advances in surgical techniques to preserve the breast tissue, and improvement in radiation therapy have all contributed to significant progress in breast cancer treatment. In the last 20 years, multiple treatment options have emerged for recurred and metastatic breast cancer. The effectiveness of such targeted treatments is higher and it has fewer side-effects, so it improves the quality of life. Simultaneously, awareness of risk factors including the role of BRCA1/BRCA2 genes have led to more women understanding hereditary risk and the need for regular screening.
In recent years, Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) has been a pivotal player, enabling comprehensive genome analysis and uncovering rare genetic mutations that can be the targets of new drugs. These breakthroughs have ushered in an era of personalized medicine enhancing the overall quality of care as well as long-term survival in breast cancer.