Hunt: Up to 270 may have died from breast screening error

As many as 270 women may have died as a result of not receiving invitations to a final routine breast cancer screening, said the U.K.'s secretary of state for health and social care.

Speaking to the House of Commons, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced an independent review of the blunder involving 450,000 women, and he disclosed that computer models indicate that between 135 and 270 women may have died due to the error, according to an article by the BBC. A computer algorithm neglected to send women approaching their 71st birthday an invitation for a final breast scan, as indicated by guidelines followed by the U.K. national screening program.

All women affected will now be contacted by letter by the end of May, and those younger than 72 will receive an appointment for a catch-up mammogram. Women older than 72 can contact a helpline to talk through the pros and cons of undergoing breast screening.

Ensuring that additional scans do not cause any delays in the screening program for other women is a priority, according to Hunt.

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