Tory MP in call for law change to improve breast cancer screening for under 40s
A Tory MP has called for a law change to entitle women aged under 40 and with a family history of breast cancer to screening services.
Andrew Griffiths (pictured) warned the “inconsistent provision” of screening was risking lives.
Not all young women he added were being offered such screening despite recommendations by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
The MP for Burton said he was moved to introduce the Bill by Nicola Morgan-Dingley, who began a campaign for early screening for young women after being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at the age of 36.
He described her as “one of the most inspiring young women I have ever met”, adding that she succumbed to breast cancer aged just 38.
He said: “So I’m here today as a tribute to Nicola to carry on her campaign with what I’m calling Nicola’s law.”
Breast cancer, he said, remained the leading cause of death in women under 50 in England and Wales, adding: “Early detection is surely a vital part of any national strategy to help reduce breast cancer deaths.”
He said: “We know that women who have breast cancer in their family are more likely to develop it and to develop the more aggressive form and we know that detecting breast cancer early gives women the best possible chance to survive.”
Nice, he said, recommended that women with a confirmed family history of breast cancer should be offered annual mammograms from aged 40 and that women at highest risk may also be offered MRI scans from age 30, but this was not always happening.
He said: “Nice guidelines are not uniformly being implemented across the country and we need to take action to tackle that and that’s because there is a lack of clarity over the provision of family history clinics.”
Mr Griffiths said his proposed legislation would strengthen oversight of family history services for women with a family history of breast cancer by introducing a duty on the secretary of state for health to ensure that “rigorous and transparent implementation of current Nice family history guidelines takes place”.
It would he added ensure that every woman in the country with a family history was able to access services with a proven life saving benefit “regardless of where they live”.
His Breast Cancer Screening (Women under 40) Bill was not given a firm date for second reading, but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.
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