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Cancer Screening: House Of Lords

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 16 December 1987

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2.45 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask the Chairman of Committees what was the response to the recent cancer screening programme carried out by the Women's National Cancer Control Campaign's mobile clinic for women working in the House of Lords.

My Lords, as I explained to the House in July, a mobile unit provided by the Women's National Cancer Control Campaign visited the House of Lords on 17th and 18th November. The arrangements for this experimental on-site screening programme were satisfactory. Three Members of the House were screened, together with 75 members of the staff of the House out of a total of 168.

My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees for that Answer, and also for all that he did in making the screening programme possible. Will the noble Lord agree that the response speaks for itself and that it is proof that on-site screenings are a good way of protecting working women from developing cancer of the cervix? Will the noble Lord provide two statistics, if he has them available? First, for how many of those women was it the first screening that they had attended? Secondly, how many of the women were asked to return for further testing as a result of abnormalities found in the screening?

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her thanks to me, but those who deserve thanks are the members of the staff of the House who organised the experiment with great efficiency. As to statistics, out of the total of 78 women attending, 11 attended for their first cervical screening test and a further 13 had not been screened for cervical cancer for over five years. The second question asked by the noble Baroness is more difficult to answer because the outcome of the tests is confidential to the individual women concerned. However, I understand that a number of members of staff have been referred for further treatment. I stress that such treatment could relate to a wide range of problems, not necessarily connected with cancer.

My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that the whole House is grateful for the opportunity given to the women in the House of Lords, especially in view of the results which show that it was necessary? Will the noble Lord bring that to the attention of other departments and, in particular, to the attention of another place?

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness. As your Lordships are aware, another place is responsible for its own House. It decided not to recommend on-site screening facilities. However, it has asked to be informed of the final outcome of our experiment, and we shall certainly do that.

My Lords, will the noble Lord say how the on-site screening was advertised because, being in the high-risk group, I might have attended had I known that it was available?

My Lords, I understand that an announcement was included in the party Whips, which I dare say the noble Baroness receives, and it was also displayed on the notice board.

My Lords, does the noble Lord understand that many women who work in this and the other place do not receive any party Whip?

My Lords, I apologise to the noble Lord, I was replying to the question of the noble Baroness. All members of the staff of the House were informed.

My Lords, I should like to ask the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees why there is no men's national cancer control campaign?