Women over the age of 70 with breast cancer in England are less likely to survive than those living in other parts of Europe.
New research by the Leiden University Medical Centre in The Netherlands looked at 236,015 women across the continent who had been diagnosed with the disease before it had spread.
It revealed that patients with stage two or three breast cancer in England had a lower survival rate after five years than those in Belgium, Poland, Ireland and the Netherlands.
This is due to the fact that women in England are not treated with surgery as early as other European nations, which decreased their chances of surviving the illness.
Senior clinical adviser at Cancer Research UK, Professor Arnie Purushotham said:
“We know that surgery is one of the most effective treatments for breast cancer, so it’s vital that women in England aren’t missing out on surgical treatment that could save their lives.”
It was added that all patients over the age of 70 should still be considered for surgery if they are fit enough, as advances in medical procedures means minor surgery for a lumpectomy “can be just as effective as more radical treatment”.
According to the findings, the number of patients with stage three breast cancer surviving for over five years was 60 per cent in Belgium. However, it was just 48 per cent in England, which could coincide with the fact that only 22 per cent of patients with this illness do not undergo surgery, compared with 44 per cent on the NHS.
Despite this, mortality rates for breast cancer sufferers in the UK has dropped by ten per cent in the last five years, falling from 39 women out of 100,000 in 2010 to 35 out of 100,000 in 2015, Cancer Research analysis has shown.
The best way to improve survival rates is to undergo a breast cancer self exam and catch any symptoms as early as possible.