Concerns after 25,000 women miss breast cancer screenings across Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant
HEALTH bosses are worried after nearly 25,000 women have missed early detection breast cancer screenings across Portsmouth and surrounding areas.
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 over the last decade.
Only 63.6 per cent of the 24,584 women in the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group area due a screening in the three years to the end of last March took up the offer according to NHS Digital data.
It means 8,939 women were not up to date with their checks and it puts the city in the bottom 25 per cent of CCGs across the country.
The NHS is expected to achieve a screening uptake of 80 per cent.
Only 73.2 per cent of the 31,386 women in the South Eastern Hampshire CCG area had a screening, leaving 8,407 women not up to date with their checks.
Of the 29,321 women in the Fareham and Gosport CCG area, just 75.4 per cent were seen which means 7,208 women were not checked.
Nationally uptake has improved slightly from the previous year which had the lowest attendance rate since the current screening programme began in 2007.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of charity Breast Cancer Now, said: ‘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.’
The breast screening programme uses an X-ray test called a mammogram to detect tumours before they are large enough to feel.
An NHS England and NHS Improvement South East spokeswoman said: ‘Breast cancer screening is offered to women aged 50 to 70 years. It saves lives by finding breast cancer at an early stage when any changes in the breast are often too small to detect by self-examination.
‘We encourage all women to go for screening when invited as treatment is most successful when the cancer is found at an early stage.’