Earlier this month the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, advised that up to 270 women in England may have died because they did not receive invitations to a final routine breast cancer screening. Around 450,000 women aged 68-71 have failed to get invitations since 2009.
It has now been suggested that this figure may, in fact, amount to tens of thousands of women who have been affected by the errors.
Prof Sasieni, professor of cancer prevention at King’s College London, has looked at data from the breast cancer screening programme in England from 2004 to 2017 and found that the percentage of 65-70 year old eligible women invited for screening was consistently less, by 2-3%, than those invited in the group aged 55-64.
This is the case dating back to 2004-05 when the programme was first extended to include women up to their 71st birthday.
The difference amounts to 140,000 women being missed between 2005 and 2008 – adding up to a total of more than 502,000 not getting invitations since 2005, Prof Sasieni has concluded.
Prof John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, said: “This is a flawed analysis which fails to take into account some important facts, such as when the breast screening programme was rolled out to all 70 year olds in England or when a clinical trial was started called Age X.”
Breast cancer screening is currently offered to women aged 50 to 70 in England as the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age. Breast cancers found by screening are generally at an early stage. Very early breast cancers are usually easier to treat, may need less treatment, and are more likely to be cured. Therefore, the failure to provide screening for these women whose cancer could have been identified at an earlier stage could have devastating consequences.
Ally Taft, Partner (Solicitor) from Medical Accident Group said “The early detection of cancer allows for the best chance of treatment and survival, but increasingly, we are acting for clients whose diagnosis is either missed or delayed. These screening errors mean that an even greater number of women have been put at risk of suffering the shattering consequences of a delayed or even missed diagnosis which leave a devastating and lasting impact on both the individual and their family.”
As an experienced local firm, we have managed to secure an award of compensation for many clients who have experienced negligent medical treatment. If you have suffered from poor treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors, with over 30 years’ experience, who will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668.