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The development of better drugs to treat breast cancer has contributed to the lowest number of women dying from the disease since records began, figures show.
A combination of heavier drinking, increasing levels of obesity and women choosing to have children at an older age has seen the number of cancer cases rise by more than 50% over the past 25 years.
The spike has also been fuelled by a rise in the use of HRT by an increasingly ageing population – the hormone therapy having been linked to breast cancer.
But improvements in chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the emergence of treatments such as Tamoxifen and Anastrozole have helped prevent the disease from coming back.
Data analysed by Cancer Research UK show that the number of women dying from breast cancer has fallen to its lowest level in almost 40 years.
The first year figures were collected, 1971, saw 12,472 women in the UK die from breast cancer. This is compared with the 11,990 women who succumbed to the disease in 2007.
From 1971 to 1989, the number of women dying from breast cancer rose steadily year on year, reaching a peak of 15,625 in 1989.
Copyright Press Association 2009