A study conducted by researchers at Oxford Population Health has found that women who are diagnosed with early stage breast cancer today are 66% less likely to die from the disease within five years of diagnosis than they were 20 years ago. The study was jointly funded by Cancer Research UK, the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, and the University of Oxford. It is published today in The BMJ.
Previous studies have shown that the risk of death after being diagnosed with early invasive breast cancer has decreased over the past few decades. This is the first study to identify the extent of the decreased risk and to analyse whether or not the decrease in risk applied to all patients or only to patients with certain characteristics for example, age, whether the cancer was detected by screening, involvement of lymph nodes, and tumour size and grade.