Only a third of women in their 60s undergo full NHS screening for breast, cervical and bowel cancer


JUST a third of women in their 60s take up invitations for all NHS cancer tests available to them, research shows.

Experts called the results “disconcerting” and urged all women to keep up-to-date with cancer screening.

 Experts say it is important for the population to attend all offered cancer screening programmes

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Experts say it is important for the population to attend all offered cancer screening programmesCredit: Getty – Contributor

Checks for breast, cervical and bowel cancer are available on the health service.

But data from around 3,000 women shows just 35 per cent aged 60 to 65 have all three.

The study also found 37 per cent of women had taken two of the tests, 17 per cent had taken one and ten per cent had not had any.

GP surgeries with a higher proportion of jobless patients and smokers had a lower rate of take-up of all three screening programmes.

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The research team, from King’s College London and Queen Mary University of London, said some women were put off by the types of test available and hoped a new type of bowel screening would improve the figures.

Senior author, Professor Stephen Duffy, added: “These results demonstrate the inequalities in cancer screening participation, with the lowest levels of participation in the areas of highest deprivation.”

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