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20,000 women in Cornwall missed their last breast cancer screening

20,000 women in Cornwall missed their last breast cancer screening

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 11:52am 21st January 2020. (Updated at 4:11pm 21st January 2020)

More than 20,000 women in Cornwall missed their last breast cancer screening.

Women are invited for a breast screening every three years between the ages of 50 and 70, to help catch cancer early.

But new statistics show the proportion of women accepting the invitation has declined across England over the last decade.

NHS figures show that over the past three years, almost a quarter of women in the Duchy have not attended their mammograms.

Only 76% of the 86,990 women in the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group area due a screening in the three years to the end of last March took up the offer.

This means 20,878 women were not up to date with their checks.

The data shows how many eligible women were checked at least once in the three-year period, meaning some women could be years overdue.

mammogram machine

The UK National Screening Committee says at least 70% of women sent an invitation should attend, but that the NHS is expected to achieve 80% uptake.

Of those who were sent an invitation in 2018-19 across England, just 71.1% had attended within six months of their invite, according to NHS Digital.

This was up slightly from the previous year, which had the lowest attendance rate since the current screening programme began in 2007.

"It's promising that uptake of breast screening in England has improved slightly after reaching a decade-low last year and we hope this now continues.

"But screening uptake is still barely above the minimum target, with hundreds of thousands of women across the country not attending.

"While screening comes with some risks to be aware of, we'd encourage all women to attend their appointments when invited."

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of charity Breast Cancer Now

Uptake in Cornwall increased slightly from 75.7% in 2017-18, despite a drop nationally.

However, it has fallen from a peak of 77.7% in 2014-15.

breast cancer screening RADAR


Dr Anne Mackie, director of screening at Public Health England, said it was "good to see" that uptake has risen for the first time in three years.

"While screening is a personal choice, we are analysing the barriers that deter some groups of women, to help the NHS improve overall numbers getting screened."

Dr Anne Mackie, Public Health England

The breast screening programme uses an X-ray test called a mammogram to detect tumours before they are large enough to feel.

Detecting the disease early on gives a better chance of survival.

"Breast cancer survival is at a record high in England with deaths falling faster than anywhere else in Europe, thanks to earlier detection and advances in treatment.

"It is vital that women attend their test and the NHS is looking at ways to boost uptake, including by making appointments more convenient, as set out by Professor Sir Mike Richards in his recent review of screening services."

NHS spokesperson

You can find all the source data here and here.

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