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Thousands in Surrey and Hampshire miss breast cancer screening

3 minute read
Thousands in Surrey and Hampshire miss breast cancer screening

Published at 12:33pm 4th January 2019.

Thousands of women across Surrey and North East Hampshire missed their last screening for breast cancer.

Latest figures - described as "troubling" - show the proportion of women between 50 and 70 accepting an invitation for screening every three years is declining in our area.

Only 73.3% of the 28,217 women in the Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group area due a screening in the three years to the end of March took up the offer.

This means 7,537 women are not up to date with their checks.

Of the 12,468 women in the Surrey Heath CCG eligible over this period, only 74.5% came forward - leaving 3,182 women unchecked.

In the North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG, 74.2% of the 28,480 women eligible got checked out - 7,362 are not up to date.

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

This is the lowest level since the current screening programme began in 2007.

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:

"These troubling figures show we’re now only a hair's breadth above the minimum standard.

"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 Guildford and Waverley, the uptake rate has fallen every year since 2010-11, when it stood at 75.4%.

Uptake in North East Hampshire and Farnham bucked the national trend last year, rising slightly from 72.9% in 2016-17.

However, it has still fallen from a peak of 74.8% in 2012-13.

In Surrey Heath it rose from 11.6% in 2016-17 - but is still down on a peak of 76.5% in 2011-12.

Dr Anne Mackie, director of screening at Public Health England, said it was especially "concerning" that uptake was falling among younger women invited for their first test.

She continued: “We are working hard with NHS and local community healthcare colleagues to understand why this might be and to make appointments as easy as possible to attend for all women who want to get screened.”

 

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