Breast screening has restarted. But almost a million women have missed mammograms due to the pandemic. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in Britain. Despite a significant drop in mortality, it is still the second highest cause of cancer deaths for women.
Screening programmes offer the greatest benefit to catch conditions at an early stage when treatment is more likely to be successful. But the Covid-19 pandemic is having a “catastrophic” impact on cancer treatment , according to the World Health Organization.
Screening diagnoses around 19,000 breast cancers a year in England. There is much to do to overcome the current delays and return to pre-pandemic service levels, given inadequate staffing numbers.
More radiologists are needed, which takes time, and a long-term investment plan to address workforce issues across the NHS. The National Breast Imaging Academy has moved to digital learning as part of its recovery plans, which is a start.
• A longer version of this article is on the web at www.cpbml.org.uk