Tests could spare chemotherapy

Thousands of breast cancer patients may not need chemotherapy after a new test to determine whether it is necessary was approved by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. Research was carried out by a Hywel Dda health board surgeon.

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Breast cancer: the facts

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in England and Wales and also the second largest cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer.

  • the biggest risk factor, after gender, is increasing age - approximately 81% of breast cancers occur in women over 50
  • more people are being diagnosed with cancer but survival rates are improving
  • breast cancer also affects men, but is rare - around 400 men are diagnosed each year.

In Wales:

  • just over 2,600 women and around 15 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year
  • breast cancer is the most common cancer in women
  • there were 627 deaths from breast cancer in 2008.

In the UK:

  • around 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK. That's one person every 10 minutes
  • just under 12,000 people die from breast cancer in the UK every year
  • there are an estimated 550.000 people living in the UK today who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer.

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