THE proportion of women taking up invitations for routine breast screening in Bradford and Airedale has fallen below the national average, new figures show.

Nationally, the percentage of women aged between 50 and 70 who have taken up routine breast screening invitations has fallen over the last 12 months.

It was recorded at 71.1% during the 2016/17 financial year, down from 72.1% in 2015/16 and 73.6% in 2006/07. The national minimum standard uptake is 70%.

Meanwhile, the Pennine figure, which includes women in Bradford and Airedale, was 67.9% for routine screenings for 2016/17. This is down from 70.2% in 2015/16 and 77.7% in 2006/07.

The Yorkshire and Humber figure for 2016/17 was 72.1%, which was down from 72.4% in 2015/16 and 77.3% in 2006/07.

Pennine Breast Imaging is based at the Pennine Suite of the Horton Wing of St Luke’s Hospital in Bradford.

The department is responsible for the Symptomatic Breast Imaging Service for the Bradford area and the Pennine Screening Service, which is part of the NHS Breast Screening Programme.

Pennine Breast Screening serves a population of 174,000 women from the Bradford, Airedale, Calderdale, Huddersfield and Dewsbury districts.

Women aged 50 to 70 are routinely invited every three years to attend for a mammogram at St Luke’s Hospital or one of the group’s mobile units at various sites across the areas.

A Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: “In line with other areas across the country, the number of local women taking up routine breast screening invitations has fallen.

“Screening is a vital health check for women aged 50 to 70 and we would urge all women to take up invitations when invited.

“Our Pennine Breast Screening Unit has recently appointed two health promotion specialists who are looking at strategies to increase uptake locally.”

The figures were released as part of the Breast Screening Programme England 2016-17 report, published yesterday by NHS Digital.

A total of 2.59 million women aged 50 to 70 were invited for breast screening in England during 2016-17. This compares with 2.48m in 2015/16 and 2.07m in 2006/07.

Of these, 1.84 million women were screened by the programme in 2016/17. This compares with 1.79 million in 2015/16 and 1.52 million in 2006/07.

A total of 18,402 women aged 45 and over had cancers detected in 2016/17, and 79.2 per cent of those women had invasive cancers.

Screening is intended to detect breast cancer at an early stage when there is a better chance of successful treatment.

Some women outside the 50 to 70 age group are also screened as part of the NHS Breast Screening Programme, either through self, or general practitioner referral where appropriate, or as part of a research trial.