More than a quarter of women across Bradford invited for routine breast screening are failing to take up the potentially life-saving offer.
The latest figures are revealed in a new report from The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) which shows the national uptake of routine scanning invitations has fallen for the second year running.
The fall is mirrored in Bradford, where 29 per cent of women aged 53 to 70, who are eligible for breast screening, failed to respond to their invitations between 2012/2013 – one per cent more than the national figure.
Julia Burrows, consultant in public health for Bradford, said: “Attending a screening is just one way women can help protect themselves. It is also very important for women of all ages to check themselves regularly for any changes in their breasts.
“A lump isn’t the only sign of breast cancer. Pain or a lump in your armpit, changes in the shape or size of your breast or changes to your nipples can all be symptoms worth being checked by your doctor even if you don’t think it is serious.”
HSCIC chief executive Alan Perkins said the data in the report was important in trying to monitor, evaluate and understand the use and outcomes of the NHS breast screening programme in England.
He said: “It goes without saying that the impact of breast cancer on people and their families can be severe and life-changing. This is why data included in today’s report is so enormously important. The figures point to a fall in the proportion of women who are taking up their screening invitation for the second year running – and while this is a relatively small fall in percentage terms, it is nevertheless a vital piece of information for health professionals and the public.”
Dr Ian Fenwick, Bradford Clinical Commissioning Groups’ clinical specialty lead for cancer, said: “We encourage women of all ages to be aware of any unusual symptoms and get them checked out by their GP, and to take up any screening invitations they receive from the NHS.”