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Mammograms over 70

(13 Posts)
Katw Thu 23-Jul-20 16:33:09

Next month would have been 3 years since my last mammogram but at 73 this year, I knew from the NHS website I’d have to call for an appointment, rather than be “invited” (funny expression!). I am aware that the incidence of breast cancer rises significantly after 70; according to Cancer Research UK, fully 1/4 of all new cases arises in women over 75. So I was very upset to be told that this screening facility has now been withdrawn on the advice of Public Health England and there is no clear indication of when, if ever, access to this valuable test will be restored for us older ladies. I’ve had a very dreary answer from my MP citing the predicable coronavirus excuse which is not very helpful.

Anyone else in this boat? Or as worried as I am that the withdrawal of facilities could quietly become permanent.

Can anyone recommend a positive course of action? I could patiently wait another six months and try again, but I have several friends who are suffering terribly from cancers where treatment has been delayed or withheld on the basis of “coronavirus blocking” and I would like to see our full NHS service up and running for ALL of us as soon as possible.

Who else is concerned or has had a similar experience?

BlueBelle Thu 23-Jul-20 16:51:18

I haven’t had one for five years and wasn’t expecting any I knew it finished at 70 I don’t think we can expect everything when we get older It’s more important younger people get these tests and they need to draw the line somewhere The same goes for internals that stops earlier doesnt it ? It seems a long time since I had one of them
I m presuming it’s something we could have done privately if we want isn’t it a sort of MOT check up
the NHS only has so much money to play with we ve had our share of tests over the years I don’t think we can expect it to go on ad infinitum

westendgirl Thu 23-Jul-20 16:51:59

The NHS categorically states that "you have the right to be screened every three years if you ask "They also say "over 70 you are still entitled to breast screening ". this is the site where I saw that.....www. secbss.nhs.>files

In that case I wouldn't take no for an answer.

westendgirl Thu 23-Jul-20 16:59:17

Have you rung your doctor ?
Contrary to what BluBelle says I think it' very important to continue with the screening if You wish. My doctor did not hesitate to send me to the Breast Clinic at a local hospital when he felt something needed specialist attention. Fortunately after tests I was told all was ok, but no one asked me what I thought I was doing at my age . Surely it's better to be checked out early rather than leave it .

westendgirl Thu 23-Jul-20 17:25:01

I have written to my M.P. to see if he can find out anything.

paddyanne Thu 23-Jul-20 18:08:49

complain to your GP,you're entitled to this test so make sure you get it !

Lucca Thu 23-Jul-20 18:26:50

Well,I’d be concerned as I had breast cancer 10 years ago. I was told it’s every three years so next November I have to ring and arrange it. If it’s not available I think I’ll pay for it, but it should be in my opinion !

GrandmaJan Thu 23-Jul-20 18:34:28

I’m 67 and had my latest mammogram earlier this year (I was 66) and in my NHS Trust they are going to invite women over 70 for a monogram. This is for a trial period to see what the uptake is like but I think this is very good news.

cornergran Thu 23-Jul-20 19:00:50

Just looked up the regulations for my area ‘if you are over 70 and have not had a mammogram for 3 years you can request one*. Is the withdrawal in your area a temporary response to covid or permanent katw? If permanent then a complaint is certainly justified. If temporary important to ask when it is anticipated tests will resume. Have you involved your GP? I think I’d also email Matt Hancock. I agree with you, people are suffering because of the lack of treatment. Good luck.

Katw Thu 23-Jul-20 19:29:58

Thank you for all your comments. Yes, the NHS website still indicates the service is available but a call to the local administrator revealed the PHE prohibition. I asked when the service would resume and was told there was no guarantee but to call again at year’s end. COVID precautions are currently reducing the number of scans possible and this is understandable, as long as it does resume when more normal conditions prevail. I will be taking this up with my GP when I see him (another challenge) next month. For anyone who suspects a breast irregularity, please insist on a checkup and referral. While we may be older, I’m simply not ready to roll over and accept that older people have no rights or to pay an outrageous amount for a private scan. I’m strong, healthy, committed to my family and community and look to take up any early diagnostic tools that save the health service heavy treatment costs in the long run. Ditto for colon cancer and there lies a similar story.

Franbern Fri 24-Jul-20 09:28:13

I agree with what Bluebelle has written.

If you have any specific concerns - found a lump, etc then you will still be sent for a mammogram by your GP.

However, so many services are being restricted at present as the NHS has almost become just a Coronavirus service, there are so many people out there with definite serious problems who cannot get appropriate scans and tests at present.

BlueSky Fri 24-Jul-20 10:00:42

Katw I too do hope it's just to do with Covid, as a lot of other routine check ups have been cancelled. I was planning to request mine next time as I had my last 'invite' in January.

westendgirl Fri 24-Jul-20 11:03:29

I have had a reply from my say that he will contact the Department of Health and Social Care to ask for updates on when the service will resume for all ages. I will let you know.