Mammogram Screenings: Which countries are leading the way?
As part of my first breast cancer diagnosis, I was given a mammogram. At 41 I was too young to have been called up for routine screening, instead, I'd found that sinister, hard worrying lump in my breast quite by accident.
The mammographer struggled to position my small breast in, what I remember to be a clamp-like machine, that scanned it. "Has anyone told you what they think it might be?" she asked. We all knew of course what they thought it might be. That dreaded word, that I could tell by looking at her that from what she'd seen on her screen she thought it was too. Cancer. It was confirmed by a consultant on an ultrasound within the hour. Before even knowing the results of a biopsy, they were near enough certain.
Detecting and diagnosing breast cancer early can save your life, and yet it’s estimated around a million women in the UK are thought to have missed their most recent mammogram screenings.
As a result, thousands could be living with breast cancer without realising it. Mammogram screenings are vital for detecting breast cancer early.
With this in mind, as part of the new Global Health Inequalities Report, Radar Healthcare* has researched which countries around the world offer breast cancer screenings at the earliest age.
The Countries Prioritising Mammograms:
Countries leading the way in offering mammogram screenings for breast cancer the earliest are Sweden, Japan, Iceland, South Korea, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates - all starting at the age of 40. Which would have been the year before I was diagnosed.
Spain, New Zealand, Austria, and Andorra Slovenia emerged in joint second place, offering mammogram screenings from the age of 45.
In the UK, breast cancer screening begins at the age of 50 - along with Canada, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Finland, Australia, Switzerland, Estonia, Lithuania, Israel, Greece, Poland, Hong Kong, Malta, Germany, the United States, Cyprus, and Liechtenstein.
Breast cancer does happen to younger women. You never think it will happen to you, but it can. I wish it were possible to bring forward the age for routine mammograms in the UK. We can live in hope.
If you are over 50 and get called for a mammogram, please DO GO!
For anyone below 50, please please be vigilant and learn to check your breasts (men too) Know what's normal for you and report any changes to your GP as soon as possible.
I always post a reminder to #feelitonthefirst on my social media if you do need a monthly nudge.
* Research by Radar Healthcare https://radarhealthcare.com/information-hub/global-health-inequalities-research/