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Study: Deprived women more likely to die from breast cancer

Deprivation could cause 450 deaths from breast cancer each year, researchers have revealed. 

Women in lower income groups are likely to be diagnosed when the disease is more advanced, and treatment is less effective, researchers from the Universities of Leicester and Cambridge discovered. 

The research, which was funded by Cancer Research UK, looked at the stage of breast cancer in over 20,000 women diagnosed between 2006-10 using official data. 

They then calculated the number of lives that would be saved within five years of diagnosis if the stage at diagnosis for all deprivation groups matched those of the most affluent women. 

At least 450 lives could be saved in the whole of England every year if socioeconomic differences were removed. 

Dr Gary Abel, statistician at the University of Cambridge and lead author said: "These avoidable deaths are not due to differences in the response to treatment, or the type of breast cancer. Rather these are deaths that might be avoided if cancer was caught as early in women from deprived backgrounds as those from more affluent backgrounds.

"The reason for this inequality may be a combination of these women being less aware of breast cancer symptoms and a greater reluctance to see their GP."

The research wsa presented at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference in Liverpool.