Answers are needed on cancer stats

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This week we return to the subject of breast cancer and the fact that a new report has revealed that the number of women who died from breast cancer in the Borders doubled last year, ­going from 18 in 2012 to 36.

The increase coincides with a fall in the early diagnosis rates for the disease in the Borders, which was partly attributed to limited mobile breast screening during 2012 and the fact none at all took place in the first seven months of 2013.

Statistics can be complicated and great care must always be taken when interpreting them, however NHS Borders’ inability to respond to our requests for information this week did nothing to help shed more light on this situation.

As MSP John Lamont indicated, it’s impossible to solely pin the blame for the doubling of breast cancer deaths on the absence of breast screening over that period, but without clear information to the contrary, of course we are going to ask whether that had something to do with it.

And speaking as a woman of breast screening age, this is a serious concern.

Breast cancer is the second biggest cause of death from cancer in women, yet breast cancer charities attribute early breast screening and early diagnosis to people – both woman and men – surviving longer.
So, whatever is behind the lack of information coming from NHS Borders on the subject, please address it.