Beating breast cancer: the breakthroughs

The mortality rate for breast cancer has fallen dramatically, with the development of new tests and treatments. The latest research offers hope for further improvements, not least through the development of artificial intelligence to aid diagnosis. The Clinical Services Journal reports on the latest advances.

More than 130,000 UK breast cancer deaths have been avoided in the last 30 years, according to the latest Cancer Research UK analysis.1 Breast cancer deaths in the UK hit a record high in 1989, when around 15,600 women lost their lives to the disease – but, due to research developing new tests and better treatments, the death rate for women has since fallen by 44%.

This considerable drop is due to major advances in diagnosis and treatment. In the last three decades, there have been improvements in surgical techniques and use of radiotherapy, new drugs being made available,2 and the impact of the national breast screening programme. 

Research has also helped highlight the importance of diagnosing cancer early, when treatment is more likely to be successful; 98% of women whose breast cancer is caught at the earliest stage survive their disease for at least five years, but for those diagnosed at the most advanced stage this drops to around a quarter (26%).3 

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