Women from poorer areas of the UK are less likely to be diagnosed early and are less likely to survive breast cancer, say researchers.
The National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) study examined how the impact of treatment and route of diagnosis - either through screening or symptoms presented to a GP - affected survival chances among women from varying levels of poverty.
Researchers on the “All Breast Cancer Report” found that more advanced stage tumours which are found too late for surgery or require more aggressive treatment are more likely to be diagnosed among women from less affluent areas.
For women presenting with symptoms of breast cancer, the report found a 15% difference between the most (68%) and least (83%) deprived, in those who survive for more than five years.
Report author Gill Lawrence, director of the West Midlands Cancer Intelligence Unit, said: “Not going for screening and delays in going to the doctor mean that less affluent women are being diagnosed with later stage cancers which need more invasive surgery and are far less likely to be treated with breast conserving surgery.”
Martin Lee, chair of the NCIN breast clinical reference group and consultant surgeon at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust, said: “Breast screening with mammograms is finding earlier stage cancers that can be controlled by less radical treatments and have better survival; it is particularly encouraging to see that this is narrowing the gap in outcomes between affluent and deprived women.”
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