Screening sees rise in cancer detection

HUNDREDS more women in the region are being detected as having breast cancer through a screening programme compared to ten years ago.

HUNDREDS more women in the region are being detected as having breast cancer through a screening programme compared to ten years ago.

The NHS Breast Screening Programme is detecting twice the number of cancer cases nationally than it did ten years ago.

A report by The NHS Information Centre shows that 198,056 women in the East of England were screened in 2007/8 of which 1,697 were told they had cancer.

Felixstowe resident Elizabeth Pearce, who co-founded Ipswich-based support group Breast Foot Forward, said: “Early detection is very important and for certain people it could be a life or death situation if they have extreme cases. “Obviously the earlier the cancer is detected the higher the chance of it being treated and dealt with properly.”


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Nationally the figures show that The NHS Breast Screening Programme detected 14,110 cases in 2007/8 which is double the number in 1997-98 when it picked up 6,914 cases. More than half of the 2007/8 figures would not have been detectable by hand.

The NHS Information Centre says the increase in the number of cancer cases could be the result of the expansion of the screening programme to cover 65 to 70-year-olds as well as 50 to 64-year-olds.

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Tim Straughan, chief executive of The NHS Information Centre, said: “Undoubtedly, the programme is saving an increasing number of women's lives, not only as a result of improved coverage, but also as a result of its extension to include older women.”

He said the screening programme will be expanded to women aged 47 to 73 by 2012.

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