Breast screening attendance increases across the UK

Published 3rd November, 2005

2005 Annual Review

More women than ever before are attending for breast screening, according to the latest statistics published today in the NHS Breast Screening Programme Annual Review 2005.

Over 100,000 more women attended for screening in 2003/04 compared with 2002/03. The most significant increase in attendance was seen among women aged 65 to 70 who are now benefiting from the expansion of the programme to invite all women aged between 50 and 70.

Statistics for 2003/04 also demonstrate that:

  • the total number of women screened rose from 1,541,794 in 2002/03 to 1,647, 441.
  • the number of cancers detected rose to 13,064 compared with 10,467 in 2002/03.
  • 5,420 invasive cancers less than 15mm were detected compared with 4,877 in 2002/03. These very small cancers are usually impossible to feel with the human hand and so screening has detected them before they would normally have been found.

The statistics also show an improvement in the quality of screening with an increase in the number of cancers detected, but a drop in the number of benign biopsies carried out.

Julietta Patnick, Director, NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, said: "This year's statistics show that women are benefiting from major changes to the service. The programme continues to provide women with a high-quality service and improved outcomes by detecting breast cancer early."

"I am delighted that more women are attending for screening than ever before and urge all women to make an informed decision to attend for breast screening when invited."