Women's health

Women told they have breast cancer after screening error

Zone default image Fourteen have invasive breast cancer

Eighteen women have been told they have breast cancer, following errors made by one consultant during screening.

A total of 355 women were called back for a repeat mammogram after colleagues raised concerns about the work of a consultant/senior radiologist who worked for the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust at Accrington Victoria Hospital.

Of these, 85 women underwent a second breast examination and 14 were found to have invasive breast cancer. Four more were diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ - a type of non-invasive breast cancer. All women are over the age of 50, and had been screened by the consultant over the past three years.

The consultant concerned, who is currently under investigation, has not been involved in breast screening since December 2008, and stopped working at the trust in April 2009.

Rinke Schram, Medical Director for the trust said: "On behalf of the trust, I would like to apologise for any distress and anxiety this has caused.

"The delay in identifying the women with breast cancer does mean that there has been a delay in these cancers being treated.

"It is unfortunately not possible to state with certainty whether this delay in treatment has affected the prognosis other than to state that early-stage breast cancers have a good prognosis."

This article was published on Fri 18 September 2009

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