FEWER women are attending screenings to detect breast cancer than in previous years.
Portsmouth has one of the lowest uptake rates in the south-east and is in the bottom 50 of the country.
Of eligible 50 to 70-year-olds who are invited to the screening, only 71 per cent attended.
The NHS Digital data showed the city was below the national average of 75 per cent but just above the minimum standard of 70 per cent.
The figures, broken down by local authority, showed Hampshire was above the national average with 78 per cent of women attending.
Speaking previously about the importance of women attending their screening, Jo Helsdon, the programme manager for breast screening at Queen Alexandra Hospital, said: ‘These screenings can detect problems earlier and for most cases the earlier the cancer is found the better the outcome.
‘It does save lives and is so important.’
Under the breast screening programme, eligible women will usually receive their first routine invitation for breast cancer screening between the ages of 50 and 53.
The data showed only 57 per cent of women turned up for their first screening at the Portsmouth unit which also covers Fareham, Gosport and Havant.
This is the lowest it has been for the past 10 years.
Ms Helsdon added: ‘We offer screenings for women once they turn 50 but in Portsmouth our uptake in first screenings is very low.
‘Women say fear and embarrassment is stopping them from going but they have no reason to feel that way.’
Tomorrow is World Cancer Day and recent figures show death rates for some of the most common types of cancers have dropped, with breast cancer falling by 10.4 per cent.
The new data from Cancer Research UK reveals mortality rates for the four most common cancers has dropped by 4.9 per cent in five years.