From: Eluned Hughes
Head of public health and information, Breast Cancer Now
We are concerned to hear that 7,631 women in Sussex have been affected by the breast screening invitation error, as announced by the Health Secretary last week.Having now been notified, it is essential that these women are fully supported and given all the information they need to make an informed choice about whether to attend catch-up screening.
While the risk of breast cancer increases with age, and early detection helps offer the best chance of survival, research is ongoing to fully understand the long-term benefits and risks of screening in women over 70. We’d encourage anyone concerned about their missed appointment to phone the Public Health England helpline on 0800 169 2692 to discuss the options available to them. With tens of thousands of women having rightly been offered catch-up mammograms across England, we now urgently need the Government to deliver on its promise to expand the workforce to cope with this increased demand while maintaining routine screening. The Breast Screening Programme remains critical to early detection in England, preventing around 1,300 deaths from breast cancer each year. For the women affected who developed breast cancers that could have been picked up earlier through screening, this decade-long error remains a devastating failure. The independent review must now thoroughly investigate how this was allowed to happen and ensure it can never be repeated.