UK breast cancer survival 'better than thought'

Breast cancer mortality rates in the UK have fallen faster than the rest of Europe, research shows.

Breast cancer survival rates in the UK may be better than previously estimated (Photograph: SPL)
Breast cancer survival rates in the UK may be better than previously estimated (Photograph: SPL)

Researchers writing in the BMJ found that from 1989 to 2006 UK mortality rates fell on a population basis by more than in any other European country. The study showed that breast cancer survival in the UK may be better than previously estimated.

A team from the International Prevention Research Institute in France looked at changes in mortality rates in women from 30 European countries. They found that, on a population basis, the breast cancer mortality rate of UK women fell by 30% during this time. Mortality decreased by 20% or more in 15 other European countries.

Women aged under 50 showed the biggest reductions in mortality rates, even though screening is uncommon among that age group. The authors believe the large reductions among this age group may reflect better targeting of effective treatments.

In an accompanying editorial, researchers at the University of Oxford suggested that failure to make proper allowances for the shortcomings of cancer registration data ‘may well have led to misleading claims about the supposed inferiority of UK cancer treatment services in general'.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in