Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Breast cancer detection 'highest' in Wales

Woman having breast cancer screening
Over 105,000 women attend screening tests in Wales

The breast screening programme in Wales has the highest detection rate of any in the UK and a lower than average number of deaths from the disease.

The Cancer Screening Evaluation Unit found for every 1,000 women screened, 6.7 cancers were detected in the first round, rising to 7.2 in later tests.

A separate audit found women in Wales had the lowest average waiting time for their first surgical appointment.

In 2006, 968 people in Wales were diagnosed through screening.

More than 140,000 women are invited for screening every year by Breast Test Wales, with over 105,000 attending.

The death rate from the disease is 26.66 per 100,000, slightly lower than the UK average of 26.71.

Dr Rose Fox, deputy director of Screening Services Wales, said: "We know that screening is an effective way to reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer.

"These independent studies show that Breast Test Wales provides a very high quality breast screening programme.

"This reflects the way we organise screening services in Wales, as well as the skill and hard work of our staff.

"When cancers are detected, people can go on to have potentially life-saving treatment earlier than they would have done without screening.

"For these reasons, we continue to encourage women to attend whenever they are invited for screening."

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK.

Women in Wales have an average waiting time of 27 days from assessment to first diagnostic surgery according to the British Association of Surgical Oncologists. The UK average is 37 days.

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