More than 35,000 women miss breast cancer screening
PUBLISHED: 06:30 10 January 2020
More than 35,000 women across Norfolk and Waveney have missed their last screening for breast cancer, NHS figures reveal.
New statistics show the proportion of women accepting the invitation has declined across England over the last decade.
Women are invited for a breast screening every three years between the ages of 50 and 70, to help catch cancer early.
All five of Norfolk and Waveney's Clinical Commission Groups (CCG) saw a slight decrease in uptake from 2017-2018, alongside a drop nationally.
The new figures has prompted leading charity Big C to urge more women to take up their appointments in 2020.
Dr Chris Bushby, chief executive of the Norfolk and Waveney charity, said: "Although feeling apprehensive when attending a medical examination is natural for many people, it is a relatively simple procedure and ultimately it saves lives."
He added the charity's specialist team was available to speak to anyone about breast screening.
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The UK National Screening Committee said at least 70pc of women sent an invitation should attend, but that the NHS was expected to achieve 80pc uptake.
Of those who were sent an invitation in 2018-19 across England, 71.1pc had attended within six months of their invite, according to NHS Digital.
This was up slightly from the previous year, which had the lowest attendance rate since the current screening programme began in 2007.
Across Norfolk and Waveney's five CCGs, 8,350 women in Great Yarmouth and Waveney, 6.332 in North Norfolk, 7,888 in South Norfolk, 6.900 in Norwich and 6,050 in West Norfolk missed their last screening.
This meant between 73.4pc and 77pc of eligible women took up their appointment.
The breast screening programme uses an X-ray test called a mammogram to detect tumours before they are large enough to feel.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of charity Breast Cancer Now, said: "While screening comes with some risks to be aware of, we'd encourage all women to attend their appointments when invited."