Home » World » Investigation underway after delays to breast cancer screening may have affected patients’ prognosis, treatment – World news

Investigation underway after delays to breast cancer screening may have affected patients’ prognosis, treatment – World news

Investigation underway after delays to breast cancer screening may have affected patients’ prognosis, treatment – World news
Wellington DHBs have launched a comprehensive review after it was discovered breast cancer patients’ may have had their treatment and prognosis affected by delays to get screening. (File photo).

ROSA WOODS/STUFF

Wellington DHBs have launched a comprehensive review after it was discovered breast cancer patients’ may have had their treatment and prognosis affected by delays to get screening. (File photo).

Wellington’s district health boards have “sincerely apologised” after discovering 52 people with breast cancer may have had their prognosis and treatment affected by delays getting a mammogram appointment.

Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast health boards have now launched a “full and comprehensive review” after analysis revealed about 6000 people in the wider region waited longer than the usual 60 working days from enrolment to be offered an appointment for mammography between 2017 and 2021.

Of those 6000, 52 cases are being reviewed after it was discovered the delay may have affected the patient’s treatment and prognosis, the health boards said in a statement on Tuesday.

All the 52 people have breast cancer and had been receiving treatment for some time.

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“We sincerely apologise to these people and whānau for any distress they may experience while we carry out this review,” the chief executive of the health boards, Fionnagh Dougan, said.

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“The safety of people participating in the national breast screening programme is our priority, and we are currently carrying out a clinical review of these cases to determine the full impact on affected people and whānau.”

Factors leading to the delays pre-date the pandemic, Dougan said.

However, of the 52 cases, a small number relate to the period after Covid-19 first emerged.

About 6000 people in the wider Wellington region waited longer than the usual 60 working days to be offered a mammogram appointment. (File photo).

Rui Vieira /PA Images via Getty

About 6000 people in the wider Wellington region waited longer than the usual 60 working days to be offered a mammogram appointment. (File photo).

“Questions about the national backlog of 49,780 screens to reach the national target of 70% coverage are best directed to the National Screening Unit,” the statement said.

The service, Breast Screen Central (BSC) had since cleared the backlog of people by increasing the number of clinics, outsourcing mammography services, and ensuring that those who have waited the longest were booked into available appointments.

Due to its obligations under the Privacy Act and the Health Information Privacy Code, the health boards said in a statement that there would not be any public comment about individual cases or comment further on the review of the cases.

“..as it is ongoing and it would not be appropriate to speculate about or pre-empt any developments or findings,” the statement said.

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