NHS Neglect Older Women In Breast Cancer Screening Programmes

MPs Accuse NHS Of Failing To Protect Over-70s As Younger Women Given Priority

31.03.2015

MPs have claimed that the NHS has unfairly diverted funds for breast cancer screening to younger women, neglecting those over 70.
 
A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Breast Cancer accused the NHS of doing too little to prevent cases of the disease in the over-70s, despite the age group making up half of all deaths from breast cancer.
 
At present, women between the ages of 50 and 70 are offered regular mammograms. Pilot schemes for an expanded age group accommodating women between 47 and 73 are underway, but MPs argue that two-thirds of the funding has been spent on the under-50s age group.
 
Last year, research by Cancer UK found that younger patients under the age of 55 were more than twice as likely to receive surgery for cancer as pensioners. This age-discrimination means tens of thousands of cancer sufferers over 70 are denied life-saving surgery.
 
Diana Jupp, director of campaigns and services at Breast Cancer Care, said: "It is unacceptable that, in 2015, a breast cancer patient does not get the best care and treatment simply because of how old they are.
 
"Breast cancer risk increases with age and older women have poorer survival, so we absolutely must get this right."

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Expert Opinion
All patients on the NHS deserve the proper standard of care, regardless of their age. This report has raised very serious concerns and it is vital that the Government and NHS work to investigate the issues identified.

"The safety of all patients must come first and it is vital that, where possible, learns are learned from this issue."
Mandy Luckman, Partner