22/04/2009

Breast Cancer Deaths At Record Low

The number of women dying from breast cancer has fallen to its lowest level since records began, new figures have shown.

The data released by Cancer Research UK show that in 2007, 11,990 women in Britain died from breast cancer. In 1941 - the first year statistics were collected - 12,472 women died from the disease.

From 1971 onwards, the number of women dying from the disease rose steadily year-on-year, reaching a peak of 15,625 in 1989.

Experts have said better care and screening along with advances in diagnosis are behind the fall in the number of deaths.

Meanwhile, improved chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the emergence of hormone treatments like Tamoxifen and Anastrozole help breast cancer come back.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK's Chief Clinician, said: "It's incredibly encouraging to see fewer women dying from breast cancer now than at any time in the last 40 years, despite breast cancer being diagnosed more often.

"Research has played a crucial role in this progress leading to improved treatments and better management for women with the disease."

He added: "The introduction of the NHS breast screening programme has also contributed as women are more likely to survive the earlier cancer is diagnosed.

"We hope these new figures will encourage women over the age of 47 to attend screening and to know that even if a tumour is found, their chances of beating it are better than ever."

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK with 45,500 women diagnosed with the disease every year - a 50% increase in a quarter of a century.

It is the second most common cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer.

(JM/BMcC)

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