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Home News and Update Year 2010 Breast cancer survival rate rises above 80pc - Irish Independent

Breast cancer survival rate rises above 80pc - Irish Independent

NEW figures to be released shortly will show that 80.6pc of breast cancer patients are surviving beyond five years, Health Minister Mary Harney said yesterday.

The figure is an improvement of 6.4pc on survival rates between 2002 and 2006, she said.

The minister was speaking as a new privately funded breast cancer database was announced allowing for more extensive research and faster delivery of new treatments to patients.

The National Breast Cancer Bio Resource will be adminstered by breast cancer nurses in the cancer centres in hospitals in Galway, Cork and Beaumont initially.

They will collect tissue and serum samples from patients who voluntarily donate them and profile them.

It will allow for personalised treatment plans and will mean that new discoveries in the area of breast cancer that currently take two to three years to develop will be reduced to six to nine months.

The resource is being funded by insurance giant Aviva which has donated €450,000 -- €150,000 a year for the next three years -- to fund the nursing positions in the RCSI-led initiative.

Beaumont Hospital cancer surgeon Professor Arnold Hill said new cancer treatments were constantly being evaluated and access to these samples would speed up the process.

"It will allow us to see which patient is best served by which treatment. We will be looking at a personalised treatment programme", said Prof Hill, who described the measure as a "sea-change" in breast-cancer care.

The minister said private involvement in cancer research was the norm in other countries.

"There's very attractive tax breaks for people in Ireland who give money to charities in order to encourage private donations."

Ms Harney said the State already put huge resources into research through the Health Research Board and Science Foundation Ireland.

There are around 2,400 new cases of breast cancer in the Republic each year and about 600 die of the disease annually.


It is the highest rate of cancer deaths among woman, while a small number of men are also affected -- around one for every 200 women diagnosed.

Consultant medical oncologist Oscar S Breathnach, of Aviva's medical council, said; "Breast cancer is currently the second most common cancer in Ireland.

"BreastCheck, the government-funded screening programme, together with this new initiative supported by Aviva, will continue to focus the creation of approaches to reduce deaths from breast cancer by discovering and treating the disease at an early stage."

- Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Irish Independent

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