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Screening Error Could Affect ‘Thousands More Than Thought’

Finding flattering mastectomy clothing that you feel comfortable in may not be the ideal situation, but it’s much better than the alternative, and many women will count themselves lucky to have discovered their breast cancer when they did. 

Knowing when you are due to be screened for breast cancer is a large and important part of spurring women into taking up the tests, and this month it was revealed 450,000 women were put at risk by an IT error which meant they were left un-reminded about key appointments.

Health minister Jeremy Hunt told parliament that the computer glitch, dating back to 2009, may have contributed to the deaths of 270 women.

However, now, according to the Guardian, it is believed that the problems could have started as early as 2005. Professor Peter Sasieni, a cancer screening and prevention researcher at King’s College London, said that under scrutiny, the number of invites send to 65-70 year olds was low between 2004 and 2005, meaning that an extra 50,000 could have missed out on the letter.

In a letter published in a medical journal, he said: “Data that might have alerted people to the lower-than-expected number of invitations being sent to women aged 70 were publicly available, but no one looked at them carefully enough.”

However Public Health England has disputed the analysis, saying that it fails to take into account all factors.

The government has ordered an independent inquiry into the scandal, which will report back later this year.

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