9 October 2019

Breast Cancer Now, the research and care charity, responds to figures published by ISD Scotland today on the Scottish Breast Screening Programme.

The figures highlight that while the national minimum standard (70%) is being met for 2015/16 – 2017/18 with an uptake of 71.2%, it has been declining each period since 2008/09 - 2010/11 when uptake was 74.9%.

Mia Rosenblatt, Assistant Director of Policy and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Now, the research and care charity, said: 

It’s really concerning that breast screening uptake has been steadily declining, with figures reaching the lowest on record for several years - this must be reversed. The Scottish Breast Screening Programme remains absolutely critical to early diagnosis in Scotland – and we need to do all we can to increase attendance.  

The Scottish Government recently announced a review of the Scottish Breast Screening Programme and we need this review to address urgent challenges in increasing breast screening attendance.

We know that interventions such as text message reminders and out-of-hours appointments can improve attendance, and we hope that the screening review will investigate how tools such as these can be deployed to support women across Scotland to make breast screening a part of their lives.

The earlier breast cancer is detected, the more likely treatment is to be successful – and while screening comes with some risks to be aware of, we’d encourage all women to attend their appointments when invited. We’d also encourage all women to check their breasts regularly, including between screens, and to report any unusual changes to their GP.