Letter: Cancer screening

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The Independent Culture
Letter: Cancer screening

Sirs: Once again a problem with the cervical cancer screening programme hits the headlines as a "cancer treatment scandal" (The Independent, 28 July), yet surely the fact that the problem has been identified and is being dealt with shows that this is not a scandal. The real scandal is that we have such an effective programme of screening for breast and cervical cancer and no screening programmes at all for male specific cancers such as prostate cancer. The NHS now spends nearly 40 per cent more on female health care and prevention than a male health care, and has in its 50 years seen almost a doubling in the difference in female and male life expectancy (despite the virtual elimination of two major causes of male premature deaths - war, and employment in the heavy and extractive industries). The greatest scandal of all is that neither the present nor the previous government programmes for the NHS had any measure to redress the imbalance, while both included measures to improve treatment of these female cancers.

D H SEE

Walsall, Staffordshire

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