Now women face a SIX MONTH wait for tests

Women should be tested for breast cancer at age 30 experts say

Mr Hunt said that between 2009 and the start of 2018, "an estimated 450,000 women aged between 68 and 71 were not invited to their final breast screening".

UP TO 270 women may have died of breast cancer because of a computer glitch that went unnoticed for nearly a decade, the health secretary admitted to MPs yesterday.

Speaking today in the House of Commons, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt apologised "wholeheartedly and unreservedly" for the error on behalf of the government, the NHS and Public Health England.

The Welsh Government does not believe a breast cancer screening error has affected them even though they used the same IT system as England, according to Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt said some of those could now have terminal cancer and others may have died.

The issue was first brought to the attention of the Department of Health and Social Care in January, but was initially thought to pose a "limited" risk to patients.

Work is being done with devolved administrations in other parts of the United Kingdom to offer support to women who might have moved to the area from England.

Here, the Press Association answers questions about the breast cancer screening programme.

They should receive automatic letters from their Global Positioning System to attend the screenings, but it is understood computer errors may have meant women did not receive the invitations.

All women affected will receive letters by the end of the month. Because of a glitch in the algorithm, many women around the age of 70 did not get an invitation for their final screening.

The Guardian says some 450,000 women in England missed breast cancer screenings because of the IT error.

It said, "The fault has now been identified and fixed and women who did not receive their final routine invitation and are registered with a GP are being contacted and offered the opportunity to have a catch up screen".

"To put measures in place to invite those women affected for screening where appropriate, to ensure there are enough resources in the system to cope with any additional demand that might follow as a result, and to take steps to ensure this never happens again".

Hunt responded: "I'm afraid she is absolutely right and the truth is we do have a quality assurance programme and it failed to pick this problem up for far too long so we need to understand why that happened".

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in Britain, with more than 55,000 women diagnosed every year and almost 1,000 dying of the disease every month, according to non-governmental organization Breast Cancer Now.

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