§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what studies are being sponsored by his Department into the costs and benefits of screening women for breast cancer; if he will give details of these; when he expects the results; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke:
The Government are funding a large-scale programme of research at a cost of £0.6 million a year into the early diagnosis of breast cancer. Trials, involving a quarter of a million women between the ages of 45 and 65, are designed to assess the practicability and efficacy of screening by mammography and clinical examination and to assess the feasibility of education in self-examination as an alternative method of early diagnosis. The trials of mammography and clinical examination are taking place in Guildford and Edinburgh; the self-examination trials in Huddersfield and Nottingham. Four centres have been established in Avon, Dundee, Oxford and Stoke-on-Trent to provide comparative information on unscreened populations.
Studies of the psychological effects of early diagnosis programmes, of the radiation dose from mammography and of the costs of screening and education in self-examination are included in the research programme. The programme will continue until 1987 with follow-up of the study population until 1997. Preliminary results should begin to become available by 1986.