Two view mammography : no official NHS Tayside data yet

9 June 2010

NHS Tayside have been using the two view mammography breast screening technique since 2008, a technique which medical experts believe can detect early-developing small tumours better than the single view technique, Marlyn Glen, the Dundee-based MSP has learned.

However, for statistical reasons, there is no official data available as yet for the health board area on its increased level of success in detecting them.

Ms Glen is to raise the matter with Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon asking when such data would become available.

Ms. Glen said,

" All health boards were to have implemented two view mammography by April of this year.

"Women’s confidence in the benefits of screening would be enhanced by the availability of such important information on the predicted success of two-way mammography at the earliest opportunity."

Ms Glen had written to NHS Tayside asking for details of the percentage uptake for breast screening amongst women invited to attend during the three year rolling programme when two view mammography was introduced in NHS Tayside.

The health board said that over 61, 000 in Tayside and North East Fife, the area covered by the East of Scotland Breast Screening Programme, were invited of whom 48,800 attended ( almost 80 per cent )

The health board told Ms. Glen that two-view mammography, which takes two views of the breast during screening, was introduced in NHS Tayside between April and July 2008.

Ms. Glen asked them if they could provide her with data of annual figures that showed that the use of the new technique has led to an increase in the overall number of invasive cancers detected.

However, they said that it is not yet possible to provide either annual or 3 yearly data.

"The screening programme operates on a three year cycle, " they said.

"This is the preferred time frame for monitoring the programme due to a number of factors which may cause statistical variation on an annual basis."

The two view technique can locate early developing tumours better than the single view technique, and so help improve survival rates for breast cancer.

Parliamentary questions tabled by Ms. Glen indicated that before the introduction of the two-view programme in Tayside, survival rates for breast cancer had already been improving in the past two decades.

In the period 1996-2007, the survival rate for breast cancer patients in Tayside after 1 year rose from 90 per cent to 93 per cent.

In the period 1996-2003, after 5 years the survival rate rose from 67 to 70 per cent.





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