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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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North Cumbria's breast-screening backlog cleared

A backlog in breast-screening appointments has finally been resolved.

Women in north Cumbria initially faced delays of up to six months after the service was suspended in 2010.

Bosses were forced to stop screening for six months after it emerged that cases of cancer were going undetected.

It was relaunched following a review – this time under new leadership from Newcastle experts – but the delays led to a backlog of appointments.

Extra clinics were put on and the six-month delays were cut to four, with the backlog finally cleared by the end of last year.

A Cumbria public health spokesperson said the catch-up programme had now been completed on schedule.

“Regular screening is important in detecting breast cancer in older women,” she said. “This is why any woman in Cumbria who gets a letter asking them to attend a screening appointment should take it up. You’ll only be invited every three years and the few minutes it takes to get screened could save your life.

“In the meantime it’s also important that women regularly check their breasts every month for any changes or unusual lumps. The best time is usually after your monthly period.”

The service screens on average about 12,500 women each year, which meant there were between 6,000 and 7,000 appointments which needed to be fitted in.

The problem in north Cumbria had been spotted after a fewer number of women than normal were being referred for further tests, such as needle biopsies.

An investigation found that 16 women who had been given the all-clear did in fact have breast cancer.

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