BREAST cancer death rates have plummeted by nearly a fifth in the UK since 2012 – faster than any other major European country.
The dramatic improvement has seen Britain go from having the worst survival among the six largest EU nations to the second best.
Getty – Contributor The fall in breast cancer-related deaths in the UK could be down to less Brits taking HRT tablets
Researchers predict 13.33 per 100,000 adults will die of the disease in Britain this year, according to a new study. It is down from 16.19 in seven years ago – a change of 18 per cent.
The UK now has better outcomes than the EU average of 13.36. Experts claim the drop is down to fewer British women having hormone replacement therapy – known to raise risk of the disease.
Other major advances include better screening, diagnosis and improved treatment. The study is published in the Annals of Oncology.
Lead researcher Prof Carlo La Vecchia, from the University of Milan, said: “This is a big step up for the UK. It has closed the gap with other European countries through better breast cancer management.
“I would say better treatment and focus on the disease are responsible for around two-thirds of the improvement, with screening and early diagnosis also helping reduce death rates.
“I would also say the reduction in HRT use is a significant factor.” More than 55,000 are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year, with 11,500 dying.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, welcomed the “positive news” and said screening had made a real difference.
She also said HRT has a small role to play and women should not be overly-alarmed by the findings.
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Baroness Morgan said: “It’s really encouraging that, thanks to research advances and NHS progress, breast cancer mortality rates in the UK are finally expected to catch up with the rest of Europe.
“But with incidence increasing and over 11,000 mothers, daughters and sisters still dying from metastatic breast cancer each year, this progress cannot come soon enough and we need to do much, much more.
“Thanks to earlier detection through screening, a focus on faster diagnosis and significant improvements in treatment and care, it’s fantastic that more UK women are surviving breast cancer than before.”
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