Thousands to Get Cancer Screening; HEALTH: Pilot Scheme Widens Age Range of Women Having Routine Checks

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Byline: By Catherine Vonledebur HEALTH REPORTER

WOMEN under 50 and over 70 living in Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry will be among the first in the UK to be screened routinely for breast cancer.

The Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry Breast Screening Unit, based at University Hospital, Coventry, has been selected to be one of six national pilot sites to start screening some groups of women in the age group 47 to 49 and 71 to 73 years old.

Currently women aged 50 to 70 are routinely screened.

It is envisaged that the extra screening sessions will start next January. This means that eligible women will receive two additional screens in their lifetimes, making nine in total.

Anita Stanton, superintendent radiographer at the trust, said: "The Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry Breast Screening Service expects to have a 30 per cent increase in its eligible population by adding these two additional screening rounds, when fully implemented.

"By increasing the age range of women taking part, the trust is at the forefront of the government's Cancer Reform Strategy which was published in December 2007 and recommended this measure.

"The final measures are being put in place for patients and we hope that the extra screening sessions will begin in January 2009. Across the country the programme will be fully comprehensive from 2012."

Women in Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry were already some of the first in the country to benefit from digital mammography equipment when it was introduced at University Hospital in 2006. …