The trend is positive, but the Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden) believes even more women can survive if county councils devote more resources to mammography.
Twenty years ago, an average of 87 percent of women with breast cancer survived. Today the figure is up to 87.4 percent, according to the Cancer Society’s breast barometer, which is based on statistics from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).
“When viewed in an international perspective, we have great numbers. But we’re not giving up until we’ve reached the maximum. Over 10 percent still don’t survive,” said Cancer Society secretary general Ursula Tengelin.
Several factors have contributed to the increase in Sweden’s breast cancer survival rate, according to Tengelin.
For starters, Sweden was early in implementing universal mammograms, which allows more tumors to be discovered at an early stage.
Swedish hospitals have also had access to modern treatment methods, while at the same time research conducted in Sweden has led to increased knowledge about breast cancer and its mechanisms.
“Swedish research is important for Swedish patients. Doctors don’t have second-hand information and new knowledge gets out to the healthcare system much quicker,” said Tengelin.
But the probability of a patient surviving breast cancer isn’t the same in every Swedish county. The variance is reflected in the differences in survival rates around the country.
Stockholm shows the highest chance of survival at 89.2 percent, followed by Dalarna and Uppsala in central Sweden.
Ranking last on the list of how many woman are still alive five years after having been diagnosed is Blekinge in southern Sweden, with 85 percent.