MORE women with a family history of breast cancer will be screened for the disease under new NHS guidelines launched today.
At the moment women over 50 are given mammograms every three years as part of the NHS Breast Screening Programme.
Guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence now says women between 40 and 49 at an increased risk of breast cancer because close family members have had the disease should be offered yearly mammograms outside the programme.
It is estimated this will lead to an extra 21,000 tests having to be carried out every year in this age group. About 13,000 are done now.
The institute's guidance also outlines where tests should be offered to women to detect faulty genes which could lead to breast cancer. Advice on where the removal of healthy breasts may be an option to avoid cancer is also given.
The cost of implementing the advice was estimated to be £4.58m for the first year and £2.47m annually after that.