3 June 2021

Mia Rosenblatt, Associate Director of Evidence, Policy and Influencing at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“It’s welcome news that much needed investment is being made in upgrading cancer diagnostic equipment across Wales, but this must go hand in hand with investment in the chronically under-resourced cancer diagnostic workforce to truly give everyone the best chance of an early diagnosis.

“Existing workforce shortages, combined with a quarter of breast radiologists in Wales being due to retire in the next five years, places the breast cancer diagnostic and imaging workforce in an incredibly precarious position at a time when they’re already facing the staggering task of tackling and recovering breast screening backlogs due to disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic, and more women with symptoms are coming through the system. Without urgent support women could be waiting longer for a breast cancer diagnosis and any treatment needed – an alarming prospect when we know early diagnosis is critical to their chances of survival.

“The NHS workforce is working tirelessly and it is vital that the Welsh Government urgently invest in a robust, long-term plan for the cancer workforce to enable them to meet the sheer scale of the challenge ahead.

“We urge women to contact their GP if they find any new or unusual breast changes, as while most changes won’t be cancer, on the occasions that it is, the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed the better the chances of treatment being successful. COVID-19 infection safety measures are in place for appointments. Anyone seeking information and support can speak to our expert nurses by calling our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000.”