More than 17,000 Newham women missed their last breast cancer screening
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
More than 17,000 Newham women missed their last screening for breast cancer, NHS figures reveal.
Women are invited for a breast screening every three years between the ages of 50 and 70 to help detect cancer early.
However, in the three years to March 2019, less than half (45.2pc) of 31,049 women in the Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area who were due for a screening attended one.
The data shows how many eligible women were checked at least once in the three-year period, meaning some could be years overdue.
Across England, 71.6pc of women eligible for screening attended their last check.
The uptake rate in Newham has fallen from a peak of 65.5pc in 2011-12.
Public Health England director of screening Dr Anne Mackie said: "While screening is a personal choice, we are analysing the barriers that deter some groups of women, to help the NHS improve overall numbers getting screened."
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Almost a third of the 195 CCGs in England failed to meet uptake target of 70pc set by the UK National Screening Committee and only one passed the 80pc benchmark the NHS is expected to achieve.
In 2018-19, only 71.1pc of women across England who were sent an invitation to a screening attended a check within six months, according to NHS Digital.
This was a slight improvement on the previous year, which had the lowest uptake since the current screening programme began in 2007.
Breast Cancer Now chief executive Baroness Delyth Morgan said: "Screening uptake is still barely above the minimum target, with hundreds of thousands of women across the country not attending.
"While screening comes with some risks to be aware of, we'd encourage all women to attend their appointments when invited."
The breast screening programme uses an X-ray test called a mammogram to detect tumours before they are large enough to feel.
Early detection of cancer gives those diagnosed a better chance of survival.
An NHS spokeswoman said: "Breast cancer survival is at a record high in England with deaths falling faster than anywhere else in Europe, thanks to earlier detection and advances in treatment.
"It is vital that women attend their test and the NHS is looking at ways to boost uptake, including by making appointments more convenient."
Newham CCG and the council were contacted for comment.