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Breast cancer mortality rates fall faster in Britain than elsewhere in Europe

Published on 19/03/19 at 11:29am

Death rates from breast cancer are falling faster in Britain than in any of the other six most populous countries in Europe, according to research published in the Annals of Oncology.

Faster diagnosis, better treatment and screening for the disease have meant breast cancer mortality has fallen by 17.7% since 2010-2014.

In contrast, mortality fell by 12.5% in Germany, 12.1% in France, 11.3% in Spain, 9.7% in Italy. Meanwhile, rates of mortality from breast cancer increased by 6.1% in Poland.

Nevertheless, the number of overall deaths continues to rise. Even as death rates fall, the UK’s aging population, obesity epidemic, and other factors mean the overall number of deaths will continue to rise.

While rates are falling more quickly in the UK, cancer campaigners warned that we are only now beginning to match European averages for breast cancer mortality rates.

“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,” said Lady Morgan, the chief executive of Breast Cancer Now.  

“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.”

“While this analysis represents very positive news, our rate of progress appears to be much greater than our neighbours largely because we have had some of the highest mortality rates in Europe for a long time.”

Louis Goss

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