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Breast cancer screening inequality

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Official statistics have revealed that fewer women in deprived areas of Scotland are being screened for breast cancer compared to those in better off communities.

Encouragingly, around 75% of women aged between 50 and 70 are getting screened across Scotland - beating the national target of 70%.

However uptake drops with increasing deprivation, official health service statistics show.

They revealed that 82% of women in the least deprived areas are getting screened, compared to 64% in the poorest areas.

Public health minister Shona Robison said: “More and more people are living with and beating cancer, and the Scottish Breast Screening Programme is one of the principal reasons why.

“In 2003 we raised the upper age range for breast screening from 64 to 70. As a result we are now screening more women and detecting more cancers than ever before.

“This early intervention means the NHS can take action against more cancers earlier, saving more lives - and women who are over 70 can continue to refer themselves for screening.”

Scotland has seen a 23% drop in breast cancer mortality between 1994 and 2005.

Up until 2007/08, the screening method used in Scotland consisted of two mammographic views at first screen and one view at subsequent screens.

But since March this year a “two-view” screening - where women have two mammography views at subsequent screenings - was introduced and is now used in all health boards across the country.


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