Three in 10 women in Bradford are not attending their breast screening appointment

Three in 10 women (30%) in Bradford aged 50-70 who are eligible for breast screening for cancer are not taking up their invitation[i].

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, Bradford City and Bradford Districts NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are asking all women aged 50-70 to attend their breast screening test – it could save their lives.

Latest research has shown that:

  • The number of women attending a screening across West Yorkshire is generally decreasing year-on-year. In Bradford 70.8% of women were screened in 2013 and 69.6% were screened in 2014.

  • Three in 10 (29%) of women eligible for breast screening across Yorkshire are still not taking up their invitation[ii]

  • There is also a low awareness among women of symptoms. Approximately 30% of all women in England diagnosed with breast cancer report a symptom other than a lump[iii].


However, research shows that when asked to name symptoms of breast cancer, only half of women over 70 (48%) could name a symptom aside from a lump. Other symptoms include:

  • a change in the size, shape or feel of a breast

  • dimpling of the skin

  • a change in the shape of or a rash on your nipple and

  • a blood stained discharge from the nipple

  • The most recent annual figures (2013) show that 890 women in Yorkshire and the Humber died of breast cancer[iv].


Women of all ages should get to know how their breasts look and feel normally, so they will find it easier to spot something unusual.

Dr Ian Fenwick, the district’s clinical lead for cancer, said: “Breast cancer screening saves lives, whatever age women may be, by finding cancers at an early stage when they are too small to see or feel. The older women are, the more likely they are to get breast cancer – one in three women who get it are aged 70 and over, but if it’s detected early, it’s more treatable.

“People of all ages in the district have access to a range of high quality cancer services which are provided by specialist healthcare professionals. But while our local cancer survival rates for patients are good, it is always important for everyone to be aware of any unusual symptoms and get them checked out by their GP, and to take up any screening invites they receive from the NHS.”

Dr Yasmin Khan, associate medical director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “We understand that any type of medical testing can be daunting, but a breast screening test is a prime example of how a quick, simple test can save your life.

“We would like to encourage all women aged 50-70 in Bradford who are eligible for the test to take up the offer and ensure they stay healthy.”

Breast screening is a method of detecting breast cancer at a very early stage. The first step involves an x-ray of each breast - a mammogram - which is taken while carefully compressing the breast. Most women find it a bit uncomfortable and a few find it painful. The mammogram can detect small changes in breast tissue which may indicate cancers which are too small to be felt either by the woman herself or by a doctor.

Further information on breast screening can be found on the NHS Screening Programme website http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer-screening