Women In England May Have Died After Breast Cancer 'Screening Error'


Women in England between the ages of 50 and 70 are now automatically invited for breast cancer screening every three years.

Mahindra Rise, an Indian multinational auto manufacturing company has taken an initiative to create awareness amongst women in rural India against the Breast Cancer disease.

"We would like to reassure women in Wales that we believe this issue to be one that predominantly affects England".

The women were enrolled in AgeX, a major NHS trial created to discover whether an extra screening would protect older women from breast cancer.

Mr Hunt added that computer models indicate between 135 and 270 women may have had their lives shortened as a result.

Poor awareness of screening and breast cancer symptoms are among the reasons why the figures are so high among black women.

He said he welcomed Hunt's "candour" in questioning why the problem was not picked up.

It was nine years before it was detected.

People referred by their doctor will usually have a mammogram first, and may need an ultrasound if they're a woman aged 35 or under (as the breasts are denser and therefore mammograms aren't necessarily as effective).

Public Health England discovered the problem after analysing data and has apologised to the women affected.

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PHE escalated it to ministers in March following an urgent review with the Government told the error should "not be made public to ensure existing screening services were not overwhelmed".

The health secretary will announce a major inquiry into the programme, run by Public Health England, the Guardian understands.

309,000 of the 450,000 women who missed out on the screenings are still alive.

AgeX was created to examine whether screening should be extended from the current age range of 50-70 to include those aged between 47 and 49, and between 71-73.

He said early investigations into the scandal suggested hundreds of women may have developed cancer after missing life-saving scans. "We anticipate that all re-screens will be completed by the end of October 2018 and extra capacity is being identified so that routine screening will not be affected".

"And can I suggest to him ever so gently that if the NHS does need extra global cancer staff he will ensure that the Home Office doesn't block their visas?"

"To put measures in place to invite those women affected for screening where appropriate, to ensure there are enough resources in the system to cope with any additional demand that might follow as a result, and to take steps to ensure this never happens again".

Medical experts warn that early diagnosis is imperative to save lives from breast cancer, which occurs in 55,000 Brits a year, killing 11,000. Compensation may be offered to families where the missed scan is found to be the cause of death.

There are unlikely to be more fatalities than that - but the Health Secretary said the true number could be less.