UK breast cancer survival improvement 'best in Europe'
12th August 2010
New research has dismissed the view that breast cancer survival in the UK is improving at a slower rate than in other western European countries.
A population-based study carried out by France's International Prevention Research Institute and published on bmj.com found that the breast cancer mortality rates fell by around 30 per cent in Britain between 1989 and 2006.
The research, which used data from the World Health Organization, compared this to the ten to 16 per cent improvement that was seen in France, Finland and Sweden over the same period.
In a bmj.com editorial accompanying the study, the University of Oxford's Valerie Beral and Richard Peto said that past research indicated the UK had a poor breast cancer survival rate because of the way the country registers statistics about cancer incidences and mortality.
Explaining that population-based research tends to provide more reliable results, they suggested that the incomplete cancer registration data 'may well have led to misleading claims about the supposed inferiority of UK cancer treatment services in general'.
According to figures from Cancer Research UK, female breast cancer incidence rates have increased by around 50 per cent in the past 25 years, with approximately 125 women being diagnosed with the condition each day.