BBC Health News // 24th February 2016
The proportion of women in England taking up their initial invitation for breast cancer screening is at its lowest level in a decade, figures show. The Health and Social Care Information Centre data showed the proportion of women aged 50-70 screened fell to 63.3% in 2014-15, from 70.1% in 2004-05. Breast screening coverage – the overall number checked – has also fallen for the fourth year in a row.
Experts said the reasons for the falls needed to be urgently investigated. Under the NHS Breast Screening Programme, women are usually invited for their first routine check between the ages of 50 and 53, then normally invited back every three years until the age of 70. There are also pilots at most of England’s screening centres, where the age range invited for screening is being extended to those aged 47-49 and 71-73.
Overall, 2.11 million women were screened in 2014-15, from a total of 2.8 million who were invited. Coverage of women aged 53 to 70 was 75.4% at 31 March 2015, down from a peak of 77.2% in 2011. Cancer was more likely to be found among the older women screened.
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