New figures have shown growing numbers of women are missing out on potentially life-saving breast cancer checks in Scotland.
The statistics reveal that the proportion of women who go for screening for the disease dropped to 72 per cent between 2013 and 2016, compared with 75 per cent in 2009.
A third of women now go without screening in Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC), the country’s largest health board region.
While NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Fife, and NHS Lothian are all below the minimum standard expected for breast cancer screening update (70 per cent).
The data, compiled by ISD Scotland, also published cancer incidence figures revealing; Incidence of breast cancer is at its highest level for 24 years – 4,738 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and over the last decade the incidence rate has increased by six per cent.
Mary Allison, director for Breast Cancer Now Scotland said: “The consistent decline in Scottish women attending breast cancer screening is very worrying.
“It is particularly concerning that breast screening uptake is so poor across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde with just 67.5 per cent of women attending their appointment. This is a significant drop from the 2007/10 figures.
“We need to fully understand the reasons behind the decline in breast screening uptake and much more work is needed to highlight the importance of detecting breast cancer early.
“Early detection along with swift and effective treatment is essential to improving survival. The Scottish Breast Cancer Screening Programme remains one of the most effective tools to detect breast cancer early and we would urge Scottish women to consider the benefits of attending their screening appointment.
“Cancer incidence figures confirm that more and more Scots are now being diagnosed with breast cancer - the most common cancer amongst women. We know that huge progress has been made in improving survival but almost 1,000 women a year in Scotland still die from this devastating disease.”
She added: “At Breast Cancer Now, we believe that by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and live well – but only if we all act now.”