The early 1990s saw the start of some significant reductions in death rates attributable directly to breast cancer. Since then, it has been established that two almost coincident Past Longevity Catalysts were chiefly responsible. These are examined in more detail below using the general Mortality Improvement Framework.
Breast cancer: History in the UK
Hotter colours illustrate greater improvements from 1988 onwards
Improvements in female breast cancer mortality rates E&W
Certain cohorts of lives were too old for the introduction of screening and / or use of tamoxifen to have an impact
Source: PIC calculations based upon ONS and causal data
Strong improvements continue to be observed in the recent past
The study by Blanks et al (BMJ 2000) attempted to disaggregate the drivers for the decline in breast cancermortality over the 1990s. It suggests that changes in treatment accounted for around 70% whilst the remaining 30% were due to the introduction of screening.
The above chart illustrates that earlier dagnosis has a significant impact on breast cancer survival rates
Data sourced from Department of Health 2010b; Cancer Research UK 2011c