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Breast cancer survival 'lower in UK'

1st March 2013

A study published in the British Journal of Cancer has pointed to lower survival rates for women in the UK with late stage breast cancer than other high income countries.

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Figures show that 28% of women in the UK with the most advanced cancers survived for three years, compared with 42% in Sweden.

The study was carried out by the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership and investigated whether international differences in survival could be explained by delays in diagnosis.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine led the analysis on women from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Sweden up to three years after diagnosis, looking at more than 250,000 women diagnosed between 2000 and 2007.

For all stages of breast cancer, the study found that three-year survival was 87-89% in the UK and Denmark, and 91-94% in the other four countries with one-year survival varying from 94.3% in the UK to 98.4% in Sweden.

Dr Sarah Walters, lead author from the Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the reasons for low overall survival in the UK and Denmark were different and needed different solutions.

“The roll-out of national mammography screening will be expected to improve overall survival in Denmark,” she said.

Dr Walters called for an investigation in the UK on whether the treatment of women with later-stage breast cancer met international standards.

 

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