Women over 70 are being denied self requested breast cancer screenings due to the restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 had stopped breast cancer screenings, but with them now up and running there is a huge backlog of screenings to get through. Currently, women over the age of 71 are less likely to be screened. According to the NHS website, those who fall into these requirements below are prioritised for screenings:
- you’ve been told you’re at very high risk of getting breast cancer
- you need more tests after your last screening
- you’ve been invited for screening, but you’ve not had your appointment yet
- you’re 53 or over and have never had a screening invitation
- you’re over 70 but have not had a final invitation for screening
- you’re between 50 and 71 and are due your routine screening
In Manchester, women between the ages of 47-71, who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every three years.
Sam Morris, founder of breast cancer charity Think Pink and Sparkle said that denying screenings was “unacceptable” but explained that figures show that almost half of people invited to screenings don’t attend. She said:
“Of every 100 screens that are sent out only 60% will take up their screening so 40% don’t.
“That’s a massive amount of people who for normal circumstances won’t go for their screening anyway.
“I personally feel that it is unacceptable, but it will be interesting to see if the pandemic will affect those figures.”
Ms Morris then said that she believes the age of screening should be lowered despite the risk of breast cancer being higher in older women. She continues:
“I think they need to lower the age and screening itself needs a massive overhaul.
“I suspect that with the pandemic the take of the screening will actually go lower.
“I think that people will think it’s one more thing to go out for and people won’t want to go out for.”
Similarly, Salford Facebook user, Hayley Mellor explained that her mum who has lung cancer has not been able to receive chemotherapy due to the restrictions. Ms Mellor writes:
“My mum has had two appointments cancelled she has lung cancer and had an operation six weeks ago to try and remove it.
“She’s not seen anyone since. Also, they’ve just cancelled her chemo.
“Awful what they are doing. She’s so scared, literally had the operation and no one has seen her since.”