Breast cancer rates continue to fall

Deaths from breast cancer – one of the biggest killers for women – continue to fall in Europe, according to Swiss and Italian researchers.

This content was published on February 16, 2012 - 16:52 and agencies

They found that the breast cancer mortality rate between 2002-2006 fell by seven per cent, dropping from 17.9 to 16.7 deaths per 100,000 women. They expect a decrease of nine per cent for the period 2006-2012.

The largest mortality rate fall was seen in northern European countries – it was down 38 per cent in Britain – and among young women, said scientists from the Lausanne University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine and the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, Italy. Their findings have been published in the journal The Breast.

In Switzerland, the decrease between 2002-2007 was “substantial” at an average of 14.2 per cent, according to a Lausanne University Hospital media release. The reduction was especially pronounced among women aged 20-49 (down 24.1 per cent).

The authors said the study showed there had been a “constant and persistent” reduction of breast cancer mortality in Europe over the past 25-30 years, as there had been in the United States.

“This is principally due to progress in treatments. The favourable developments seen among young women suggest that general breast cancer mortality should fall even more in the near future. Within the European Union, we expect it to fall by nine per cent between 2006-2012 to reach a mortality rate of around 15 deaths per 100,000 women of all ages,” they said.

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