London Assembly to investigate poor breast cancer screening uptake

In collaboration with the Press Association

The London Assembly has launched an investigation to determine why the uptake of breast cancer screening has fallen in the capital.

The proportion of London-based women who attend breast cancer screening appointments when invited is the lowest in the country.

Compared with the national average of 75 per cent, only 62 per cent of women between the ages of 50 and 70 in London attended their appointments in 2005/06.

In addition, the investigation will look at the variation in radiotherapy waiting times across the capital and see how this can be addressed.

Joanne McCartney, chair of the Assembly's Health and Public Services Committee, commented: "One in every nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, yet despite this terrifying statistic, uptake of breast cancer screening in the capital is very low.

"Screening helps save lives by detecting breast cancer in its early stages when it is easier to treat.

"This committee wants to find out what can be done to improve access and information so more Londoners are screened."

Commenting on the findings, Dr Joanna Owens, Cancer Research UK's senior science information officer, said: "It's really important that all women over 50 attend breast cancer screening appointments when invited - the screening programme has already saved thousands of women's lives.

"Cancer Research UK's Screening Matters campaign aims to increase the number of people attending cancer screening, as well as reduce the variation in screening across the UK."