Concern over delays to cancer screening

- Advertisement -

In spite of moves back towards business as usual at the General Hospital from early July, routine breast screening for Islanders in their 50s and 60s did not initially resume.

The Health Department issued a press release last week as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month confirming the resumption of screening. It has since been clarified that screening restarted in late August.

Senator Kristina Moore, who underwent treatment for breast cancer in 2013 and 2014, said she would not want to see Jersey in the same position as the UK, where it has been reported that almost a million women had missed breast scans as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘It’s hard to understand why it has taken so long to get back to a “business-as-usual” situation, especially given concerns that many people with health worries have delayed taking action,’ she said.

‘It’s most important to catch signs of cancer as early as possible – days and weeks really do make a difference.’

Senator Moore said she had been told about one case where a GP encountered ‘the largest lump they had ever seen’ while examining a patient.

‘As laypeople we can only assume that delay will produce adverse outcomes for some patients,’ she added.

Deputy Mary Le Hegarat, who chairs the Health and Social Security Scrutiny Panel, said she intended to raise the matter with Health Minister Richard Renouf and officials in his department.

‘We don’t know how many people have been seen already since July, outside of the routine screening,’ she said. ‘From my perspective it’s not only about breast cancer, but all the screening they do – it’s important to know where we are.’

Deputy Le Hegarat’s panel is due to question the Health Minister at a quarterly hearing scheduled for this Thursday.

At the end of September, the UK charity Breast Cancer Now said 986,000 women had missed mammograms since March, when the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, the charity’s chief executive, acknowledged the difficulties created by the pandemic, but said the screening backlog was a ‘grave concern’.

In addition to breast cancer screening for women aged 50 to 69, screening is also provided in Jersey for cervical cancer – for women aged 25 to 64 – and bowel cancer checks are offered to all Islanders in their 60th year.

The JEP has asked the government press office how many people had been affected by disruption to screenings, both for breast cancer and other types of cancer, but has yet to receive a detailed response.

A government spokesperson said treatment for breast cancer had never been entirely stopped, with priority having been given to high-risk individuals.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.