Friday, 25 May, 2018

Women In England May Have Died After Breast Cancer 'Screening Error'

The Health Secretary told the Commons of a ‘computer algorithm failure dating back to 2009 The Health Secretary told the Commons of a ‘computer algorithm failure dating back to 2009
Jeannette Daniel | 03 May, 2018, 16:02

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined details of a failure in breast cancer screening which was brought to light by an IT upgrade which then revealed IT system issues and a "computer algorithm failure dating back to 2009".

Screening invitations were not sent out to approximately 450,000 women aged 68 and over between 2009 and the beginning of 2018.

A number of women who missed screenings are understood to have since developed cancer.

This follows an IT problem in England which led to thousands of women not getting invitations for screenings. The health secretary continued that he was deeply sorry for any "pain" that was caused by this error, and that by the end of May, women under the age of 75 will be offered a routine mammogram.

It is believed local breast screening services across the United Kingdom are working with the NHS England and PHE to ensure all women and families impacted are contacted.

"We know this may leave many women with questions about breast screening", said Greenwood.

In the United Kingdom, women between the ages of 50 and 70 are entitled to a breast cancer screening every three years, as part of the government-run universal health-care system.

Mr Hunt went on to announce an independent review into the issue.


When the National Breast Screening Service was launched in 2009 the new IT was bolted on to the existing system.

Mahindra Rise, an Indian multinational vehicle manufacturing company has taken an initiative to create awareness amongst women in rural India against the Breast Cancer disease.

England's breast screening failure follows unrelated news in last week that more than 200 cervical cancer test results should have resulted in earlier intervention.

But Mr Hunt said those estimates came with caveats as it was based on on "statistical modelling rather than patient reviews".

"For those women who will have gone on to develop breast cancers that could have been picked up earlier through screening, this is a devastating error".

"We encourage women who have been invited for screening to see it as an important step in helping to look after their health, and to therefore continue to attend for screening if invited".

Ms Thomas said: 'It's absolutely critical we understand what happened and make sure this situation never happens to another person again.

"It's worth remembering that many breast cancers are still found by women themselves, outside of the screening programme, so if you notice any unusual changes in your breast see your GP straight away", she said.

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