In a recent study carried out in England, it has been observed that mortality from breast cancer and the probability of death have experienced a gradual and significant decrease since the 1990s. The investigation, which examined data from more than half a million women, highlights a marked improvement in survival rates among breast cancer patients.
Significant drop in breast cancer mortality
Published in the prestigious BMJ medical journal, the study shows a two-thirds reduction in the number of women who died after a diagnosis of breast cancer in the last two decades. Lead author Carolyn Taylor, an oncologist at the University of Oxford, emphasizes that this comprehensive analysis, which spanned 10 years, involved 512,447 women diagnosed with early invasive breast cancer between January 1993 and December 2015. The researchers tracked patients through December 2020 using data from the National Cancer Registry and Analysis Service.
The study reveals that women diagnosed with breast cancer in the period 1993-99 faced a 14.4% risk of dying in five years. However, for women diagnosed between 2010 and 2015, this risk dropped significantly to 4.9%. These encouraging results, demonstrating a two-thirds reduction in breast cancer death rates, were published June 13 in The BMJ.
Interestingly, the research shows that the decline in death rates extended to nearly all age groups, encompassing both women who had been screened for breast cancer and women who had not. However, the precise factors contributing to this decline remain unclear. In recent decades, increased awareness of breast cancer and the expansion of screening programs in England may have played a role.
Patient involvement enhances breast cancer research
Furthermore, randomized trials investigating the impact of specific treatments on survival rates have probably contributed to this positive result. Lead author Carolyn Taylor emphasizes that it is challenging to quantify the exact contributions of treatment, screening, and awareness initiatives.
Naser Turabi, Director of Testing and Implementation at Cancer Research UK (CRUK) in London, comments on the importance of this research. Although CRUK funded the study, Turabi was not directly involved. He stresses the importance of such studies in evaluating the effectiveness of treatment and allowing patients to make well-informed decisions regarding their medical care.
Patient participation played a crucial role in this study, with two patient representatives actively contributing to the research process. Their input helped shape the research questions, reviewed the analyses, and provided comments and suggestions throughout the study. They also played a vital role in interpreting the results in a patient-friendly way.
Large-scale studies like this one, which track outcomes over a long period of time, are critical for setting research and funding priorities. Turabi emphasizes that monitoring the success of interventions is crucial to justify their continued implementation.
Breast cancer remains a major global health problem, with more than two million people diagnosed annually. The findings of this study offer hope and reassurance to patients, indicating a substantial improvement in prognosis over time. The study also emphasizes the need to identify subgroups of women at increased risk of breast cancer mortality, which aids in personalized treatment approaches.
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