Older women diagnosed with breast cancer in England are less likely to survive their disease than those in Belgium, Poland, Ireland and the Netherlands according to research published today in the British Journal of Cancer*.
In one of the largest studies of its kind looking at breast cancer patients aged 70 and over, researchers found that England ranked worst out of the selected countries for five year survival for breast cancer at stage two and three.
The team based at the Leiden University Medical Centre in The Netherlands analysed the anonymised records of 236,015 women who’d been diagnosed with breast cancer before it had spread.
They also found patients with stage one or two breast cancer in England are most likely to have no surgery as part of their treatment compared with other countries.
Not having surgery at stage three was found to be linked to poorer survival. In England 44% of patients received no surgery at stage three, compared to 22% of patients in Belgium.
Overall the number of patients with stage three breast cancer surviving their disease for five years or more in England (48%) was 12% lower than in Belgium (60%).
Author Dr Marloes Derks said:
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