Inquiry launched into 450000 missed breast cancer screenings

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Checks are offered to women aged 50-70 every three years, but those affected were aged 68-71, with the issue dating back to 2009.

Hunt added that the best estimate, based on modelling, is that there will be between 135 and 270 women who had their lives shortened as a result of the computer algorithm failure.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has apologised and announced the setting up of an independent inquiry.

"It's worth remembering that most breast cancers are still found by women themselves, outside of the screening programme, so if you notice any unusual changes in your breast see your GP straight away".

Mr Hunt told the Commons the intention was to contact all those living within the United Kingdom who are registered with a GP before the end of May.

"We are deeply saddened and extremely concerned to hear that so many women have been let down by such a colossal systematic failure", says Delyth Morgan, chief executive of charity Breast Cancer Now.

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The Public Health Agency (PHA) have reviewed their breast screening programme in Northern Ireland following issues identified with the breast screening programme in England.

The 309,000 women thought to be affected by the issue will be contacted by the NHS this week.

He said any woman who wanted a mammogram would get one within six months, and it was a priority to make sure additional scans did not cause any delays in the screening programme for other women.

It is believed local breast screening services across the United Kingdom are working with the NHS England and PHE to ensure all women and families impacted are contacted.

Hunt told lawmakers that all of the women who should have received a screening will get a letter by the end of May, urging them to come in for an appointment.

'We must also recognise that there may be some who receive a letter having had a recent terminal diagnosis. Hunt said that this highlighted that some women on the AgeX trial were not receiving an invitation to their final screening as a 70 year old.

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As a result, around 450,000 women in England missed out on the appointment; of these, 150,000 have died since.

"The Welsh administration doesn't believe that this problem has affected them, even though they were using the same IT system that we were using in England, but that is their view".

The RCGP said that the implications for Global Positioning System will be "significant", as patients seek reassurance, and they will be issuing advice accordingly.

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Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in Britain, with more than 55,000 women diagnosed every year and almost 1,000 dying of the disease every month, according to non-governmental organization Breast Cancer Now.

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