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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 April, 2004, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Drop in breast cancer death rate
Mammograms can detect cancerous tissue in the breast
The number of breast cancer deaths in Scotland has fallen by more than a quarter since 1990, figures have shown.

Statistics from the Scottish Breast Screening Programme also indicate that more women are attending routine screening appointments.

Breast cancer deaths in women aged between 55 and 69 decreased by 27.9% between 1990 and 2002.

Campaign groups said that screening and education had played a major role in reducing deaths.

Cancer Research UK's head of clinical trials, Kate Law, said: "The fall in deaths from breast cancer is great news for Scottish women, as is the increase in the numbers attending screening.

An unprecedented 71.5% - and rising - of Scottish women are now attending routine screening appointments
Pamela Goldberg
Breast Cancer Campaign
"There's no doubt that the screening programme has made a significant contribution to the fall in deaths, as has better breast awareness, treatment by multidisciplinary teams and the widespread use of drugs such as tamoxifen."

In 1991/1992 89,450 women attended screenings, with that figure rising to 109,756 in 2002/2003.

Pamela Goldberg, chief executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, welcomed the drop in mortality rates.

She said: "Breast Cancer Campaign continues to urge women to continue to be breast aware, to know what is normal for them, attend routine screening, and to report any changes to their GP without delay.

"The statistics' report that an unprecedented 71.5% - and rising - of Scottish women are now attending routine screening appointments, is very encouraging."

Assessment clinics

The Scottish Breast Screening Programme (SBSP) was set up in 1988.

In the 50 to 64 years age range, the SBSP programme detects about 600 invasive cancers each year.

About 160 non-invasive cancers which were rarely diagnosed prior to screening are also detected every year.

Since the SBSP was established, the way in which women with abnormalities on their mammograms are assessed has developed from a basic follow-up visit and then referral to a consultant if necessary, to assessment clinics involving a range of investigative procedures.

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