Closed petition To offer mammograms to all women over 30

Last year on the 22nd October I was diagnosed with breast cancer, one week later after my CT scan my whole world fell apart I was told my cancer had spread.I am only 46 years old 4 years under the governments recommended age for a mammogram I am pretty sure this would have been too late for me.

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Government responded

This response was given on 24 June 2019

The Government recognises the devastating effects of breast cancer and awaits the Age X Trial findings. The UK National Screening Committee advice states women over 50 should be routinely screened.

We are very sorry to learn about your breast cancer diagnosis and grateful that you have taken the time to raise this important matter.

Breast cancer can be a devastating disease and the Government is committed to providing well-managed screening programmes based on the most current peer reviewed evidence to ensure the greatest benefit.

The NHS Breast Screening Programme in England offers all women between the ages of 50 and 70 the opportunity to be screened every three years for breast cancer, in order to help detect abnormalities and reduce the number of lives lost to invasive breast cancer. The aim is to detect breast cancer early when there is a greater chance of cure, thus reducing the number of lives lost to invasive breast cancer. Any woman experiencing symptoms should see their GP immediately; women tend to know how their breasts usually look and feel and are therefore more likely to spot changes that could be a sign of cancer.

The NHS Breast Screening Programme is based on strong peer-reviewed evidence and recommended by the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC), which advises Ministers and the NHS in all four countries on all aspects of population screening.

The 2012 UK independent review of breast cancer screening (Marmot review) estimated that inviting women between the ages of 50-70 reduces mortality from breast cancer in the population invited by 20% and saves an estimated 1,300 lives a year. Similarly, in June 2015, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published the findings of a review on breast cancer screening in the New England Journal of Medicine. A group of 29 independent international experts from 16 countries, convened by the IARC, assessed the cancer-preventive and adverse effects of various methods of screening for breast cancer. The findings of the review support the current age at which women are first invited for breast screening in England and the three-year interval period between invitations.

Breast screening is offered from the age of 50, based on the average age of menopause being 51, and all women should receive their first routine invitation by their 53rd birthday. For women under the age of 50, there is evidence that breast screening is less effective, as younger women have less fatty, denser breast tissue. Women of any age who have symptoms are actively encouraged to contact their general practitioner as soon as possible and women with a family history of breast cancer can be referred to a family history clinic for a risk assessment by their GP.

The Government is not complacent in the fight against cancer. The NHS Long Term Plan published on 7th January put cancer right at the heart of its plans. It set out a comprehensive package of measures that will transform cancer diagnosis and treatment across the country over the next 10 years; a decade in which patients can expect to see huge improvements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The aim is to see 55,000 more people surviving cancer for 5 years in England each year from 2028. Further, the breast screening Age Extension Randomisation (Age X) trial which began in 2008, is investigating the clinical impacts of extending the programme to women aged 47-49 and 71-73. The results, which will be available in 2026, will show whether screening in the extended age ranges is effective or not and the Government will consider further recommendations from the UK NSC.

Cancer prevention, public health and early diagnosis remain key priorities for the Government.

Department of Health and Social Care.