10 MAY 2018

Breast Cancer Screening

Kent Messenger Column- 10-05-18 

I was extremely concerned to learn last week about the failure, dating back to 2009, to invite 450,000 women to their final breast cancer screening.

Firstly, I know there will be families in Maidstone and the Weald impacted by this and I stand ready to support you in any way that I can. So many of us know the pain of losing a loved one to cancer and I appreciate that this announcement will only add to the distress.

The Government have immediately commissioned an independent review to learn lessons from this failing. Quite rightly, this will not only focus on how the error occurred initially, but also on how it was able to go undetected for so long. I know the Health Secretary will urgently wish to make sure that such a failure can never happen again and I will, of course, follow the Government's response closely.

There is continuing clinical debate about the most beneficial ages at which to screen women. However, I am not going to address that here because it is most imperative that women are provided with the facts and guidance they require to make their own informed choice. In these cases that has not happened and that is unacceptable.

Early diagnosis, and its huge benefits to prognosis, continues to rely on us to recognise symptoms and contact our GP to arrange for the appropriate tests. I am very proud to be an ambassador for 'Breast Cancer Now' who have produced a simple guide on how to identify and act upon the early signs associated with breast cancer which you can find here.

My family know first-hand about the importance of seeing your GP early, thankfully my husband's cancer was caught and treated due to early diagnosis and the outstanding care of NHS professionals. If you're worried, please get checked out. It's probably nothing but if it's something you'll be forever grateful you did.

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