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Breast Cancer

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of (a) women and (b) men diagnosed with breast cancer recovered fully in the latest period for which figures are available. (231208)

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 31 October 2008:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what percentage of (a) women and (b) men diagnosed with breast cancer recovered fully in the latest period for which figures are available. [231208]

It cannot be stated definitively whether a patient with breast cancer has ‘recovered fully’ after treatment. For most cancer, but not breast, five-year survival rates are often taken to be ‘cure’ rates.

The five-year relative survival rate for (a) women patients diagnosed with breast cancer during 1999-2003 in England was 81%. Table 1 shows the predicted long-term relative survival rates for women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001-2003 (the most recent period for which data are available).

ONS does not produce survival rates for (b) men diagnosed with breast cancer because of the relatively small number of men diagnosed. Male breast cancer accounts for less than one per cent of all breast cancer cases.

Table 1: Predicted long-term relative survival1 from breast cancer for female patients aged 15 to 99, England and Wales, 2001-032

Duration of survival

Relative survival (Percentage)

1 year

94.0

5 years

80.3

10 years

71.7

15 years

67.5

20 years

64.5

1 Relative survival takes into account that some cancer patients will die from causes other than their cancer.

2 Based on all women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1981 and 2001, who were alive for at least part of the period 2001-03.

Source:

Office for National Statistics.

Available on the ONS website at:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=14172