September 18, 2008

Bid to Boost Breast Cancer Screening

By Adam Morris

A SERIES of measures have been introduced to boost the number of women being screened for breast cancer in the Lothians.

NHS Lothian revealed the action plan after it emerged the number of women tested is slightly below the national average.

The current take-up locally is 74.7 per cent, one per cent less than the Scottish overall figure, and well short of the Scottish Government's target of 80 per cent.

As a result, the board has outlined a number of initiatives to improve take-up. Screening centres now offer extended hours for testing outwith the traditional office hour boundaries, while more mobile testing units will operate in rural areas and places not well served by public transport.

Dr Sue Payne, a consultant in public health for NHS Lothian, said: "We would encourage all women to take up the invitation of screening. Early detection allows us to begin treatment more swiftly and can have a beneficial impact in terms of outcomes.

"That's why we are now offering extended hours for mammography, covering the early mornings and evenings, and running a new, better service using mobile screening units for people in areas with poor transport links."

In June, the board agreed to implement "two-view" mammographies at every round of testing, a procedure which many say is more effective at detecting cancer, and it should be introduced by April next year.

The release of the figures comes a fortnight before Cancer Research UK's breast cancer awareness campaign, called It's A Girl Thing, aimed at encouraging younger women to get checked out.

Originally published by Adam Morris Health Reporter.

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