02/06/2003

Rates of breast cancer rise to record levels

The number of British women diagnosed with breast cancer has risen to record levels, according to new figures from Cancer Research UK.

The findings show that over 40,000 women are diagnosed each year with the disease.

However, the research also reveals that more women are surviving breast cancer, with three out of every four women going on to live five years or more after diagnosis.

Around 13,000 women died of breast cancer in 2001, representing a decrease of 21% over the last ten years. It is thought this decline can be attributed to improvements in treatments and the success of the screening programme.

Professor Robert Souhami, Clinical Director at Cancer Research UK said: "The increase in the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer is a matter of concern. However, research is beginning to uncover the factors which affect risk, and knowing who is at risk and why is the first step towards prevention.

"In the meantime, early detection remains very important in preventing deaths from breast cancer and it is essential that women are aware of this and attend for screening when they are invited".

(CL)

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