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Call for breast cancer screening age to be lowered

The Scottish Conservatives have called for the age at which women are screened for breast cancer to be lowered.

Breast cancer screening is currently offered to all women in Scotland aged between 50 and 70, however there has been an increase in the number of women under 50 being diagnosed with the disease in recent years.

It is estimated that over half of invasive breast cancers detected by screening would have been unlikely to have been found by a physical examination alone.

As such the party’s public health spokesman Miles Briggs, who is also a Co-Convenor of the Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Cancer, is calling for the Scottish Government to offer screening from an earlier age.

In a letter to Health Secretary Shona Robison, he’ll ask if the Scottish Government would be willing to consider trialling an extended age range, similar to an on-going scheme currently in place in England. 

Scottish Conservative public health spokesman Miles Briggs said:

“The breast cancer screening programme has been a major success story, helping save the lives of thousands of women in Scotland.

“However we could be doing more.

“More and more women under the age of 50 are now being diagnosed with breast cancer, and it’s only right that we lower the screening ages to help deal with this.

“Detecting cancer early is vital for improving survival rates, and it’s essential that we offer it to those likely to develop the disease.

“With trials of an extended age range currently on-going south of the border, I can see no reason why the Scottish Government couldn’t introduce a similar programme in Scotland.”


Notes to Editors

The table showing a rise in breast cancer incident rates for those aged 45-49 can be accessed on the ISD Scotland website, here: 

You can find more about the trial currently taking place across England, here:

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