Thousands miss cancer screening

January 29 2019

MORE than 15,000 women in Bristol missed their last screening for breast cancer, NHS figures show.

Women are invited for an x-ray mammogram every three years between the ages of 50 and 70, to try and detect tumours before they are large enough to feel.

But, "troubling" figures show the proportion of women accepting the invitation is declining.

Only 68.4% of the 49,035 women in the Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group area due a screening in the three years to the end of last March took up the offer.

This means 15,518 women are not up to date with their checks.

Across England the proportion of women who attended their last check was 72%.

The UK National Screening Committee says the minimum acceptable level of coverage is 70%, but the NHS is expected to achieve 80%.

Addie Mitchell, clinical nurse specialist at the charity Breast Cancer Care, said the figures were “troubling”, adding: "While screening is not a one-stop shop, as symptoms can occur at any time, mammograms remain the most effective tool at our disposal for detecting breast cancer at the earliest possible stage."

In Bristol, the uptake rate has fallen for a second year running.