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Title: UK's breast cancer screening glitch
Authors: Ellul, Ian C.
Keywords: Editorials
Breast -- Cancer -- Imaging
Breast -- Cancer -- Great Britain
Medicine -- Data processing
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Medical Portals Ltd.
Citation: Ellul, I. C. (2018). UK's breast cancer screening glitch. The Synapse : the Medical Professionals' Network, 17(3), 3.
Abstract: Last May, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that 450,000 women between the ages of 68 and 71 in the UK failed to receive invitations for a final routine breast cancer screening. Of note, women in the UK from the age of 50 who are registered with a family doctor are automatically invited for screening with a letter every three years until their 71st birthday. Patients cannot ask for an appointment themselves until that age; after that, screening requests can be made every three years. As a result of the 450,000 failed invitations it has been estimated that up to 270 women succumbed to the disease. This gross mistake spanned over a period of almost ten years, between 2009 and 2017. The first question is posed … who is to blame? To put it mildly, a computer algorithm failure, involving the programming of people’s ages. The second question arises naturally … how was this glitch revealed? Following an upgrade to the breast screening invitation IT system, which allowed for improved data on the actual ages of the women receiving screening invitations.
Appears in Collections:The Synapse, Volume 17, Issue 3
The Synapse, Volume 17, Issue 3

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