Fewer than three fifths of women from the most deprived areas of Scotland attend for breast cancer screening, compared to nearly four fifths of women in the most affluent communities, new figures showed.
The latest data from Publish Health Scotland revealed that a total of 561,125 women aged between 50 and 70 attended for a routine breast screen appointment between 2017-18 and 2019-20.
Over the period, that equates to almost three quarters (72.2%) of women having the checks, which can help detect breast cancer.
But the figures showed women in the most deprived areas were less likely to come forward for the check-ups when invited.
According to the data, 59.9% of women in the poorest areas attended a screening appointment, compared to 79.6% of women in the least deprived communities.
Public Health Scotland noted that this pattern, where people in the most deprived areas are less likely to attend, was “also seen in other screening programmes”.
The number of women coming forward for screening in total over the three years between 2017-19 and 2019-20 was “similar” to the previous three years – with the levels for both these exceeding the 70% minimum acceptable standard.
However, two health boards failed to achieve this, with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lanarkshire screening 67.2% and 69.7% of eligible women respectively.
There has been full national coverage of the Scottish breast screening programme from 1991 and since then more than 4.3 million examinations have been carried out with more than 34,200 breast cancers diagnosed.
Currently, all women aged between 50 and 70 are invited for a routine breast screening examination every three years.