Britain Breast Cancer Down 30 Percent

LYON, France, Aug. 16 (UPI) — Breast cancer death rates have fallen steeply in Britain in the last two decades, but have risen in some countries in Central Europe, French researchers say.

Philippe Autier of the International Prevention Research Institute in France examined breast cancer mortality rates in women living in 30 European countries from 1980-2006 using data from the World Health Organization.

From 1989-2006, breast cancer mortality dropped by 20 percent or more in 15 European countries, but in Britain mortality rates fell by about 30 percent — more than in any other major European country — the study says.

Autier says the findings challenge earlier reports that Britain had higher breast cancer rates than the rest of Europe.

In an accompanying editorial, Valerie Beral and Richard Peto of the University of Oxford point out the earlier reports used cancer registration data in Britain, which are known to be incomplete, compared to the accurate data of breast cancer deaths and this may account for the discrepancy.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, said the decrease in breast cancer mortality rates is largely attributed to early diagnosis, breast screening and the effective treatment of breast cancer.

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