AM voices concerns at new cancer testing procedure
9:01am Sunday 1st September 2013 in News
A NEW cervical screening test programme could lead to more cases of cancer remaining undetected for longer, according to AM.
South Wales East’s Lindsay Whittle said he has “grave concerns” over the new programme which comes into effect in Wales on Sunday.
The changes mean that the starting age for screening for women will rise from 20 to 25 while the frequency of screening for the over 50s increases from three to five years.
Full implementation of the changes are not being introduced across the UK until 2015.
Mr Whittle raised the issue with health minister Mark Drakeford and said that he had been contacted by two women, one was treated as a result of screening when under 25 years of age and another whose daughter was affected.
He said: “I have grave concerns that this decision will lead to more cases of cervical cancer laying undetected for longer. I have two constituents who are examples of the importance of early detection which with cancer we are always told is crucial.”
Mr Whittle, who sits on the Assembly health committee, added: “Wales has been first on issues like free concessionary bus passes, charges on carrier bags and free prescriptions. But I don’t like the idea of being first on an issue which could affect women’s health and a huge chunk of the Welsh population.”
He said he is surprised experts have said it is a good idea, saying: “I’m told that the evidence shows that screening women aged 20 to 24 causes more harm than good and might cause problems in any subsequent pregnancy.
“My view is that information could be given to those women and then they have the choice of turning down or accepting the offer of a test.”
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