BREAST screening uptake in Scotland has fallen over the past three years, sparking calls for more to be done to detect the disease at its early stage.

NHS breast screening programme performance standards show that the number of women attending dropped by 0.4 per cent from 2014 to April 2015 and highlighted variations between different health boards.

All but three NHS boards achieved the 70 per cent minimum performance standard for uptake. In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde the figure was 67.7 per cent, in NHS Lanarkshire 69.4 per cent and in NHS Lothian 69.8 per cent.

Mary Allison, director for Scotland at Breast Cancer Now, said: “Breast screening saves lives. It can help detect breast cancer at its earliest stages, which increases chances of survival. It’s clear more needs to be done to make sure that Glasgow detects breast cancer early. Breast screening uptake in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde board area has been the lowest in Scotland over a number of years.

“This could be for a number of reasons, but it could be linked to levels of deprivation in the city and surrounding areas.

“Scotland-wide statistics show that in 2011-12 the uptake rate in the most deprived areas was 61.4 per cent compared to 80.4 per cent in more affluent areas.

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to addressing health inequalities in screening through the cancer strategy and we’re ready to work with them to address these issues.”

“We also understand that getting an invitation to breast screening can raise a number of questions for women.”

Gregor McNie, Cancer Research UK’s senior public affairs manager in Scotland, said: “Breast cancer screening aims to detect cancers at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to be successful. But it’s vital women are given all available information about the potential harms and benefits of screening. This information should be simple to understand and readily available.”