Record numbers beating breast cancer as treatment improves

Improved treatment for breast cancer in the UK is leading to fewer deaths from the disease.

Analysis by the charity Cancer Research UK suggests the death rate for women with breast cancer has fallen by 44% in the past three decades and more than 130,000 deaths avoided.

The charity says the drop is due to major advances in diagnosis and treatment since 1989.

It said: "We have seen improvements in surgical techniques and use of radiotherapy, new drugs being made available and the impact of the national breast screening programme."

But despite the advances, the charity says there're still too many women dying and more funding is needed to find a cure.

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer

For the past year Liz O'Riordan has been clear of breast cancer.

She's a former breast cancer surgeon in Ipswich, Colchester, and Bury hospitals.

In 2015 Liz was diagnosed with breast cancer and she says she was all too aware of the irony of the doctor becoming the patient.

Liz O'Riordan was a fit and healthy triathlete with no risk factors when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Credit: Submitted

In 2018 Liz had a recurrence of cancer on her chest wall and she underwent a mastectomy and radiotherapy.

She eventually had to give up her job, finding it too hard not to relive her battle with cancer through her patients.

But she put her energy into writing about dealing with the disease to help others.

According to Cancer Research UK more than 11,000 people die every year from breast cancer. The number peaked in 1989 when 15,600 women died from the disease.

They say the significant drop in numbers over the past 30 years shows that their research is working, but is far from over.