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Breast cancer survival rates soar, mortality rates drop by 41%

A study presented at the European Breast Cancer Conference has shown that British breast cancer survival rates are soaring above those in any other European country.

Comparing 27 countries within Europe from 1989 to 2010, the breast cancer mortality rate in England and Wales has fallen dramatically from 41.9% to 25.4% – a 41% reduction and the most dramatic decrease recorded across Europe. Also, where England and Wales had the highest mortality rate when the study began, their position is now only 18th out of the 27, with Spain, Sweden, Norway and Portugal claiming the lowest breast cancer mortality rates, with numbers lower than 20%.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, said: “Even though globally more breast cancer cases are being diagnosed, we do know that thanks to research and innovations in treatment, mortality rates are falling in the UK and it is reassuring to see this confirmed in these results.”

Breast cancer charities have said the reason that the UK is not yet #1 is down to late diagnoses, with cases missed by some GPs and long waits or delays for hospital scans and diagnostic tests.

Mike Hobday, Director of Policy and Research at Macmillan Cancer Support, said. “Clearly we still have work to do in the UK to catch up with our European counterparts. It’s vital that cancer is caught in its early stages to ensure people have timely access to treatment and support. GPs play a key role in early referral of suspected cancer and Macmillan is helping them to drive through improvements in diagnosis and to focus much more on keeping people well after their treatment.”

This study is fantastic news for those receiving treatment for breast cancer and gives those suffering from the disease a hugely positive outlook for the future.

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