The Scottish government plans to review the country's breast cancer screening service for the first time since it was set up in 1989.
The review will identify the most cost and clinically effective way to deliver the service in the future, and will examine if mammography should continue to be provided as a national service or if responsibility should be transferred to local health services to fund, plan, and manage.
In addition, the Scottish government has promised to spend 35 million euros ($49 million U.S.) over the next four years to improve early diagnosis of breast, bowel, and lung cancers by 25%.
Scotland continues to lag behind the rest of Europe in terms of early detection and treatment. The new initiative will save around 300 lives a year, the government estimates.
A draft implementation plan has been drawn up to achieve improved early cancer detection of breast, bowel, and lung cancers, and includes the following:
- Improving participation in screening programs
- Raising public awareness of the importance of early detection
- Working with general practitioners to promote earlier referral or investigation
- Preparing hospital services to respond effectively to increasing numbers of patients referred with early signs of disease
Officials will consult with clinicians, cancer charities, and the public before the plan is approved. Comments are requested by 26 August.