Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Life&Culture | By Ben Goodman

United Kingdom breast screening error affects 450000 women

United Kingdom breast screening error affects 450000 women

Breast cancer screenings are offered to all women between the ages of 50 and 70, but speaking in the House of Commons today (2 May), Hunt said a serious failure with the IT system led to a huge number of women in England, between the ages of 68 and 71, not being invited to their final screenings between 2009 and early 2018.

It has emerged 450,000 women were not invited to appointments as they should have been, and as a result up to 270 maybe have "had their lives shortened", according to the BBC.

The error was caused by a computer algorithm failure that happened in 2009 but was only discovered in January this year.

All women under 75 will automatically receive invitations to catch-up screenings and women 72 and over will be given access to a helpline to get clinical advice on whether a screening is appropriate for them. Can this unique habit also help protect them from breast cancer?

Nearly 300 women may have died in the United Kingdom because they missed out on breast cancer screenings due to a computer error.

If the cancer was detected through the NHS Breast Screening Programme, patients may need to have another mammogram or ultrasound scan to confirm the diagnosis.

The incidence of breast cancer is on the rise in rural India.

"That hundreds of thousands of women have not received the screening invitations they've been relying upon, at a time when they may be most at risk of breast cancer, is totally unacceptable".

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NHS England will be expanding the capacity of screening services to enable all women affected to be screened within six months, though ideally as early as possible.

Mahindra Rise, an Indian multinational vehicle manufacturing company has taken an initiative to create awareness amongst women in rural India against the Breast Cancer disease.

The mistakes first came to the attention of health chiefs in January after nearly a decade of errors and Mr Hunt said "serious failure" of a "computer algorithm" was to blame.

In England, black women are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with advanced breast cancer as white women, according to a 2016 study by Cancer Research UK and Public Health England.

Breast cancer survivor Katherine Simpson-Jacobs, who is from Ipswich and has written a book about how to break the news of a diagnosis to children, said this mistake would have put added financial pressure on the NHS. Hunt stated that of the 450,000 women that were not invited back for another screening, only 309,000 are assumed to still be alive.

Hunt apologized "wholeheartedly and unreservedly" for the suffering caused and promised there would be an independent review of the national breast screening program.

Breast Screening Select is a browser-based application used to manage the call and recall of eligible women in England.

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