Sporadic implementation of UK familial mammographic surveillance guidelines 15 years after original publication.
The National Institute of health and Care Excellence issued guidelines on familial breast cancer screening in 2004. Such guidelines should be uniformly implemented to ensure that members of the same family with the same level of risk, but living in different areas, have the same access to screening. We assessed uptake by creating a short, six question online survey designed to assess compliance in each regional area. We used this to conduct a survey of all 22 regional genetics services. There was a 100% response to the survey allowing a complete map to be created. The devolved nations had near complete compliance with the sole exception of SW Scotland, but in England the picture was fragmented with regions representing a combined population of 26.6 million (48%) not implementing the full NICE recommendations. Fifteen years after the publication of the original guidelines, major inequity in provision for screening still occurs and a postcode lottery exists for the management of women from families with a history of breast cancer. We estimate that up to 73 preventable breast cancer deaths occur each year due to the current inequity of access. It may be time to consider alternative funding and implementation models to ensure consistent access across the country.