Over-70s WILL now get breast screening: Older women will be eligible for mammograms again for first time since March
- Breast screening prevents around 1,300 deaths and detects 19,000 cases a year
- The Mail revealed last month those aged 71 and over were not receiving scans
- But the service is finally to resume for the over-70s for the first time since March
Breast screening is finally to resume for the over-70s, for the first time since March.
The Daily Mail revealed last month that although mammograms had begun again for younger women, those aged 71 and over were not receiving the scans. GPs were even ordered to remove leaflets promoting the service.
The discrepancy has now ended. Mia Rosenblatt, of the Breast Cancer Now charity, said last night: ‘We are delighted that self-referrals to breast screening are being restarted for women aged 71 and over in England, as we know the suspension of this service caused many women great concern and anxiety.
An estimated one million women have missed out on screening during the pandemic, meaning some 8,600 cases may have gone undetected [File photo]
‘While we welcome this news, we cannot ignore the fact that there is still a significant backlog due to the service being paused in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.’
Screening, which prevents around 1,300 deaths and detects 19,000 cases a year, is offered to women aged 50 to 70. The NHS encourages older women to request a check every three years.
An estimated one million women have missed out on screening during the pandemic, meaning some 8,600 cases may have gone undetected.
Professor Peter Johnson, NHS clinical director for cancer, said: ‘Cancer treatments are already back up to pre-pandemic levels and breast screening services are up and running – including the self-referral option for women who are over 70 and opt to be screened.
‘The number of people waiting to be screened for breast cancer has reduced from 400,000 to 8,000 with thousands more invites being sent every month.
‘If you are invited to attend, please book an appointment and as always, it is vital that women contact their GP to discuss any concerns they have about changes to their breasts, regardless of age.’
Women over 70 are more at risk of getting breast cancer than those who are younger as the risk of the disease increases with age.
About one-third of all breast cancers occur in this age group.
Yet studies suggest many older women wrongly assume the danger has passed as they no longer get called for routine checks.
A major UK pilot is underway to see if extending the screening programme’s age bracket to women aged 47 to 49 and 71 to 73 will reduce breast cancer deaths.
Screening, which prevents around 1,300 deaths and detects 19,000 cases a year, is offered to women aged 50 to 70. The NHS encourages older women to request a check every three years [File photo]