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Urgent action required to improve diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer

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    Recent study highlights current limitations in knowledge of breast cancer will potentially cost 185,000 lives by 2030.

    By Ali Cloak

The journal Breast Cancer Research recently published the findings of a Gap Analysis: a review aimed at highlighting the key areas in relation to breast cancer which require further research. The study involved over 100 healthcare professionals. The findings, published at the start of this month, identified knowledge gaps in the key areas of diagnosis, treatment, support, prevention and genetics.

The stated conclusion of the research is:

With resources to conduct further high-quality targeted research focusing on the gaps identified, increased knowledge translating into improved clinical care should be achievable within five years.”

One of the main bars to this essential research into the treatment of breast cancer is funding. The Gap Analysis states that the decline in resources targeted towards breast cancer research must be reversed. The Breast Cancer Campaign group hopes to raise £100 million over the next 10 years in order to overcome breast cancer, through their ‘Help Us to Find the Cures’ campaign.

With this funding they believe they can achieve the following objectives by 2025:

• Up to 20% of all breast cancers will be preventable
• Over 60% of breast cancers will be diagnosed before they are symptomatic
• Improved treatments will improve survival rates by 50%
• 25% fewer people will develop secondary breast cancer

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Campaign said:
If we don’t act now, by 2030 more than 1.2 million women could be living with, or after, a breast cancer diagnosis and around 185,000 lives could have been lost to breast cancer. We want future mothers, daughters and wives to have their breast cancer prevented, cured, or for them to outlive the disease, and hope that together we can achieve this by 2050.”

The findings coincide with the national Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with the Breast Cancer Campaign reporting that around 50,000 women are diagnosed each year and 12,000 losing their lives from the disease.

A recent poll, by Breakthrough Breast Cancer, found that 45% of UK women do not regularly check their breasts for changes and only 10% felt “very confident” that they would notice a change. These findings are concerning as it is well known that early breast cancer screening and diagnosis saves lives.

OUR EXPERIENCE

There is clearly much more that needs to be done to win the battle against breast cancer to educate patients and those involved in diagnosing and treating the disease. The Clinical Negligence Team have experience in dealing with cases where there has been a misdiagnosis of breast cancer, delayed diagnosis or failures in the management of the condition, which usually leads to a worse outcome for the patient. We hope that with increased knowledge of the disease translating into improved clinical care it will also reduce incidences of delayed diagnosis of breast cancer.  Please contact us if you wish to discuss the treatment you have received for breast cancer.

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