One quarter women in Kirklees are not attending their breast screening appointment

One quarter (24.1%) of women in Kirklees aged 50-70 who are eligible for breast screening for cancer are not taking up their invitation.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCGs) are asking all women aged 50-70 to attend their breast screening test – it could save their lives.

Latest research has shown that:

  • The number of women attending a screening across West Yorkshire is generally decreasing year-on-year. In Kirklees, 76.3% of women were screened in 2013 compared to 75.9% in 2014
  • Three in ten (29%) of women eligible for breast screening across Yorkshire are still not taking up their invitation
  • There is also a low awareness amongst women of symptoms. Approximately 30% of all women in England diagnosed with breast cancer report a symptom other than a lump. However, research shows that when asked to name symptoms of breast cancer, only half of women over 70 (48%) could name a symptom aside from a lump.

Other symptoms include:

  • a change in the size, shape or feel of a breast
  • dimpling of the skin
  • a change in the shape of or a rash on your nipple and
  • a blood stained discharge from the nipple

The most recent annual figures (2013) show that 890 women in Yorkshire and the Humber died of breast cancer.

Women of all ages should get to know how their breasts look and feel normally, so they will find it easier to spot something unusual.

Dr David Kelly, a local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “The older you get, the more important it is to be aware of your body.  If you do notice a change in your breasts, whether it’s a lump, discharge or a skin change, go and see your GP as soon as you can.  The chances are that it’s nothing serious but it might be something that needs attention and if diagnosed earlier, treatment can be a lot more successful.”

Dr Steve Ollerton, a local GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG added: “We would also like to ask family and friends to encourage their loved ones to seek medical help if they say they have symptoms or have noticed any changes.  Some women feel they are too old for certain things, but unfortunately breast cancer isn’t one of them.”

Dr Yasmin Khan – Associate Medical Director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said:

“We understand that any type of medical testing can be daunting, but a breast screening test is a prime example of how a quick, painless test can save your life.

“We would like to encourage all women aged 50-70 in Kirklees who are eligible for the test to take up the offer and ensure they stay healthy.”

Breast screening is a method of detecting breast cancer at a very early stage. The first step involves an x-ray of each breast – a mammogram – which is taken while carefully compressing the breast. Most women find it a bit uncomfortable and a few find it painful. The mammogram can detect small changes in breast tissue which may indicate cancers which are too small to be felt either by the woman herself or by a doctor.

Further information on breast screening can be found on the NHS Screening Programme website http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer-screening

Ends.

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