Brighton women fall behind on cancer checks Brighton News

MORE than a third of women in the city were unaware of potentially life-saving cancer checks last year, figures show.

An ‘alarming’ drop in breast cancer screenings across England is a reminder of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on cancer care and diagnosis, charities say.

NHS England data revealed that 62% of eligible women in Brighton and Hove were up to date with their screenings at the end of March last year, meaning around 10,527 were not.

This proportion was down from 70% the previous year.

This meant that the city’s health departments fell short of the national minimum coverage target of 70%.

Nationally, the figures show a 44% drop in the number of women who were screened for the disease nationwide in 2020-21, while the number of cancers detected by screening fell by more than a third over the same period.

Less than two-thirds (64%) of eligible women attended their last check-up across the UK, down from 74% in 2019-20 and the lowest coverage rate ever.

The screening program sees women between the ages of 50 and 71 invited every three years to undergo mammography (x-rays) designed to detect cancers too small to see or feel.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the charity Breast Cancer Now, has warned that hundreds of people could die over the next decade due to the impact of the pandemic on screenings.

She said the human cost behind the latest figures is ‘stark’ and said: ‘The uptake of testing has reached its lowest point in history despite NHS staff working tirelessly under the circumstances. most difficult, to restart and continue breast screening services.

“Breast screening is an essential tool for detecting breast cancer at an early stage, and the earlier it is diagnosed, the more likely treatment is to be successful.”

Screenings were severely impacted by pandemic-related disruptions and were paused between March and June 2020 to protect patients and staff from the virus, before resuming that summer.

Self-isolation and shielding are also thought to have impacted attendance throughout the pandemic.

Jodie Moffat, head of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said a lack of NHS capacity could impact its ability to handle the backlog of women awaiting invitations, and called for additional staff to be funded .

She said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“In the first year of the pandemic, we saw a decline in the number of women starting breast cancer treatment in England, which we thought was partly linked to delays in breast cancer screening.”

Professor Stephen Powis, Medical Director of the NHS, said: “The pandemic has inevitably had an impact on some routine services and we know that fewer people have come for cancer screening tests.

“The NHS is now inviting more people than ever to get tested, while investing an additional £70 million to support testing services, which we know save thousands of lives, so it remains vital that women come forward when they receive their invitation to do so. .”

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This notice was published: 2022-03-05 05:00:00

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