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Is The Mortality Rate of Breast Cancer Declining?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Around 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, meaning it is likely to affect us all in some capacity. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is important that we celebrate the strides that have been made in breast cancer survival over the past 50 years and focus on what can be done to further this progress.

Because of research milestones, the recovery rate of breast cancer is high, providing it is detected early.  Deaths from breast cancer have decreased by 19% since the 1970s. In fact, 9 in 10 women diagnosed with the disease in England survive for one year or more. The mortality rate is projected to decrease further, but the recent pandemic may have threatened this progress.   

Due to the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, Breast Cancer Now estimates that around 11,000 people are living with undiagnosed breast cancer in the UK. The referral rate declined drastically as many people avoided going to the hospital during the height of the pandemic out of fear of catching the virus. Others stated that they didn’t want to burden the NHS during such an overwhelming period. As more screenings were put on hold or appointments were missed, the fear that more women would miss out on essential early diagnoses rose rapidly.  

New research by Breast Cancer Now reveals that if the incidence rates continue to rise, deaths will also begin to increase in 2022. The charity is urging the government to dedicate more resources towards the cause. Not only do more screenings need to take place, but the government needs to invest in initiatives that will ensure people attend these screenings. Every person with potential breast cancer symptoms should feel comfortable contacting their GP and feel safe and comfortable attending screenings.  

There is more we can do to ensure that the projected mortality rate of breast cancer goes back down. Prevention begins with a healthy lifestyle. Ensuring that we’re active, have a balanced diet and not drinking too much alcohol will reduce the risk, but nothing will guarantee prevention. That is why it is so important that we spread awareness to increase the chances of early detection.  

Check your tits every month! This ensures that you are familiar with your boobs and can detect any changes that might be indicative of breast cancer. It is also vital that Breast Cancer Awareness Month is inclusive and represents everyone. Anybody can get breast cancer and there should be no barriers that prevent people from seeking help from doctors. Breast Cancer Now aims that everyone who develops breast cancer will survive by 2050. We can still achieve this, but we need to act now. 

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