BreastCheck publishes screening statistics for 2014-2015

BreastCheck – The National Breast Screening Programme has published its screening statistics for 2014-2015.

The programme aims to detect breast cancers at the earliest possible stage. At this point, a detected cancer is usually easier to treat and there are greater treatment options available. The statistics relate to women aged 50-64 who were invited for screening in 2014.

During the reporting period (1 January-31 December 2014) 177,724 eligible women were invited for screening and 135,966 women attended for their mammogram. The uptake rate at 76.5 per cent was a significant increase from the previous year (70.2%) and surpassed the programme standard of 70 per cent. Eight hundred and ninety women had a cancer detected, representing 6.5 cancers for every 1,000 women screened.

Women who have a breast cancer detected are supported throughout their journey by radiographers, radiologists, surgeons, pathologists, breast care nurses and administrative staff who are experienced and committed to providing care of the highest standard. One hundred and ninety eight women were diagnosed with a ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). DCIS is an early form of breast cancer where the cancer cells have not spread within or outside the breast. If DCIS is not treated, the cells may spread and become an invasive cancer. It is thought that low grade DCIS is less likely to become an invasive cancer than high grade, yet it is impossible to predict exactly. Just over nine per cent of DCIS detected by BreastCheck during the reporting period was low grade.

In 2014, uptake remained highest among women who had previously participated in the programme. BreastCheck is now in its sixteenth year of screening and has provided almost 1.37 million mammograms to over 480,000 women and detected more than 8,500 cancers. BreastCheck is extending screening upwards to women aged 69. BreastCheck achieved its target of inviting 1,000 women in the older age cohort by year-end 2015. Extension will continue and by the end of 2021, all eligible women aged 50-69 will be invited for free routine mammograms.