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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government have taken to educate young women about the importance of diagnosing breast cancer at the early stages to improve survival rates. 
Ann Keen: It is important for women of all ages to be breast aware. That is why together with Cancer Research UK the Department produces the Be Breast Aware leaflet, which advises women on the importance on being breast aware and what signs to watch for. Over a million copies of this leaflet are produced each year. It is also available online from both the NHS Choices and the NHS Cancer Screening Programme websites.
Mrs. Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of women screened for breast cancer in (a) Gateshead, (b) Sunderland and (c) the North East in the last 12 months were being screened less than 36 months after a previous screening. 
Ann Keen: Information is not available for the last 12 months. The following table outlines the current uptake of breast screenings in the North East strategic health authority area for the latest period that figures are available.
|Breast screening programme: coverage of women aged 53-64( 1) for the North East SHA, by Primary Care Organisation|
|As at 31 March 2006|
|Eligible population( 2)||Number of women screened||Coverage (less than 3 years since last test) ( Percentage )|
|(1 )The breast screening programme covers women aged 50-64 but it was extended to invite women aged 65-70 in April 2001. The last unit began inviting women in April 2006, full coverage to age 70 should be achieved by 2008-09. Until then coverage of the screening programme is best assessed using the 53-64 age group as women may be first called at any time between their 50(th) and 53(rd) birthday.|
(2 )This is the number of women in the resident population less those recorded as ineligible.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of which groups are typically under-represented in the NHS routine breast cancer screening programme; and what steps he is taking to increase the uptake of routine breast cancer screening among these groups. 
[holding answer 8 November 2007]: People who live in deprived areas are less likely to attend for screening. For example, for cultural and religious
reasons, women from minority ethnic groups are less likely to accept invitations for screening than the general population as a whole. Language and access to acceptable and meaningful information can also be a significant barrier and can affect coverage levels.
The national informed choice leaflet, Breast Screening: The Facts, which is sent out with every invitation for screening, has now been translated into 19 languages. In December 2003, National Health Service Cancer Screening Programmes published Inequalities of Access to Cancer Screening: A Literature Review. The recommendations in the review have been sent to all local screening programmes. It is for primary care trusts, in close collaboration with their local screening programmes and stakeholders, to decide how best to provide and promote breast screening services for their local populations.
On a national level, a paper on inequalities will be discussed by the United Kingdom National Screening Committee (NSC) at their next meeting on 20
November. The NSC will consider what future action should be taken to reduce inequalities in our screening programmes.
Inequalities in cancer screening are also being considered as part of the development of the new cancer reform strategy, which we hope to publish by the end of the year. An equality impact assessment will also be published alongside the strategy.
Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many oncologists per capita there were in each strategic health authority area in each year since 2000; and if he will make a statement. 
|Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS): medical and dental staff working within medical oncology and clinical oncology specialties by strategic health authorities, England as at 30 September each year|
|Clinical oncology||Medical oncology||Clinical oncology||Medical oncology||Clinical oncology||Medical oncology||Clinical oncology||Medical oncology|
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