Skip to content


12 April 2024

Women thought to be at very high risk of breast cancer not invited for annual checkups

2 mins

The NHS has recently written to almost 1,500 women who may have missed out on annual breast cancer screenings between 1962 and 2003. These women were at a higher risk of developing breast cancer because they had received radiotherapy to treat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Under normal circumstances, women between the ages of 50 and 70 are invited for a mammogram every three years. A mammogram is an investigative x-ray that can identify breast cancer at an early stage. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reports that a mammogram could identify early-stage cancer up to three years before the cancer can be felt by a patient.

Research from the year 2000 showed that women who had received radiotherapy treatment to their chest for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma were at higher risk of developing breast cancer. Annual MRI testing was recommended for patients between 8 and 15 years post treatment, depending on their age at the time they were treated. This is because the increased risk does not emerge until approximately 10 years later.

An urgent review by NHS England revealed that 5,002 women aged under 35 who had received radiotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma should have been receiving annual MRI scans, but it is not clear how many, if any, were invited.

The NHS has written to the 1,500 women who are still alive and eligible for checks inviting them for scans.

The NHS has set up a helpline (0345 8778962) for anyone impacted by the news and expects all affected to have scans within the next three months.

Specialist Medical Negligence Lawyers

Our Medical Negligence team offer expert advice in relation to addressing delayed diagnoses that arise as a result of negligence. If you or a loved one has received one of these letters you may be entitled to claim compensation.

For more information, call our team on 020 7833 4433, or make an enquiry through our website.

This article was co-authored by solicitor Megan Owen and paralegal Kishan Sheth, who both work within the Clinical Negligence & Personal Injury team.

How can we help you?

We are here to help. If you have any questions for us, please get in touch below.