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Drop in breast cancer screening uptake

1 March 2013

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The number of women taking up breast screening invitations has been dropping for three years according to new statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Uptake was more than 73% out of nearly 2.5 million women aged 50-70 in 2011-12, the figures show. 
Uptake drop
The report, NHS Breast Screening Programme, England 2011-12 shows there has been a slight decline in uptake, from 73.6% in 2006, 73.4% in 2010 and 73.1% in the latest figures. 
HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “Today’s figures reveal that the number of women in England who are taking up breast screening invitations has been fairly consistent in recent years with almost three quarters of women aged 50 to 70 taking up their invitation for breast screening.” 
Cancer detection 
More than 15,700 women aged 45 and over had cancers detected by the screening programme compared to 14,730 in 2010-11.
London Strategic Health Authority (SHA) had the lowest uptake for women aged 50 to 70 at 63%, while East Midlands SHA had the highest uptake at 77%. 
Although there has been a slight drop in uptake, 2.53 million women aged 45 and over were invited for screening compared with 2.44 million women in 2010-11. 
The lowest uptake was among women aged 71 to 74 at 67.7 per cent. 
This age group covers the recent extension of the screening programme to include women aged 71 to 73 which is currently being rolled out across England.
“Our report is important for informing policy and monitoring the quality and effectiveness of breast screening services. Future reports will be vital for monitoring if uptake levels change,” said Tim Straughan.