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Wednesday, June 17, 1998 Published at 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK


Government to act on breast cancer

Malcolm Chisholm called for action

The government is to launch a publicity drive to encourage older women to undertake regular scans for breast cancer.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced that ministers are looking for ways to publicise services more effectively.

Mr Blair was responding to a question from Labour MP and former Scottish Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm at Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Chisholm said Scottish Offices figures had revealed that more than twice as many women between the ages of 35 and 54 die of breast cancer than any other single cause.

He asked what steps the government was taking to tackle 'this single greatest cause of premature death'.

Mr Chisholm also asked whether further care would be given to older women through the extension of routine screening beyond the age of 65.

[ image: Tony Blair promised action]
Tony Blair promised action
Series of proposals

Mr Blair said: "We have put in place a series of proposals that will mean by April 1999 for breast cancer, and the year 2000 for other cancers, there will be a maximum two week waiting time to see a specialist following an urgent GP referral.

"On the question of screening for women over 65, they are not routinely invited for screening, but they are entitled to a free three-yearly scan on request.

"It is important that this is more widely known and taken up, and we are at present looking at ways we can improve the publicity given to this."

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