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Photograph of Professor Carolyn Taylor
Professor Carolyn Taylor

A study conducted by researchers at Oxford Population Health into breast cancer mortality rates has been awarded ‘The BMJ UK Research Paper of the Year 2023’.

The study found that women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer today are 66% less likely to die from the disease than they were 20 years ago.

Previous studies had shown that the risk of breast cancer death after being diagnosed with early invasive breast cancer has decreased over the past few decades. This was the first study to identify the extent of the decreased risk and to analyse whether or not the decrease in risk applied to all patients or only to patients with certain characteristics for example, age, whether the cancer was detected by screening, involvement of lymph nodes, and tumour size and grade.

The results of this study can help clinicians to estimate prognosis for patients diagnosed with breast cancer today.

Professor Carolyn Taylor, an author on the study, said ‘The results of our study are reassuring for women diagnosed with early breast cancer today because most of them can expect to become long-term cancer survivors.’

‘The study involved teamwork with individuals from Oxford Population Health, Public Health England and Independent Cancer Patients’ Voice. I am delighted that the value of our work has been recognised through this award.’

The award recognises original UK research that has the potential to contribute significantly to improving health and healthcare. The judging is carried out by the editorial team at The BMJ, and is an editorial decision based on publications and projects that the editors have seen over the past year.

The study was jointly funded by Cancer Research UK, and also by the National Institute of Health and Care Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, and the University of Oxford.