New statistics published this morning (Wednesday 24 February) by the Health and Social Care Information Centre have shown a decline in the number of women taking up their first invitation to attend a screening appointment as part of the Breast Screening Programme.
The figures showed that in 2014-15, 63.3 per cent of women receiving their first invitation were screened, compared to 65.8 per cent in 2013-14 and 70.1 per cent in 2004-5.
Eluned Hughes, Head of Public Health and Information at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“The continued decline in the number of women taking up their first screening invitation is of real concern. There will be a complexity of reasons behind this trend and further investigation into these causes is now urgently required at a local level.
“Comprehensive evidence has shown that screening prevents deaths from breast cancer, but there are some small risks as well as benefits. Attending screening is a very personal choice and it’s crucial that all women have the information they need to make an informed decision.
“Ultimately, the earlier breast cancer is picked up, the more likely treatment is to be successful. Whether they choose to attend screening or not, we’d encourage all women to check themselves regularly, to get to know how their breasts normally look and feel, and to report any unusual changes to their GP.”