About 1 in 8 women in the UK are diagnosed with Breast Cancer during their lifetime. If it's detected early, treatment is more successful and there's a good chance of recovery.
What is Breast Screening?
Breast Screening is a very important test offered to women every 3 years to find breast cancers early. Screening is done by using an X-Ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they're too small to see or feel.
Who is offered Breast Screening?
Breast screening is offered to women aged 50 to their 71st birthday in England.
You'll first be invited for screening within 3 years of your 50th birthday, but in some areas you'll be invited from the age of 47 as part of the age extension trial.
You may be eligible for breast screening before the age of 50 if you have a very high risk of developing breast cancer. (E.g. Family history of Breast Cancer - Please click HERE for further guidance).
If you're 71 or over, you'll stop receiving screening invitations.
You can still have screening once you're 71 or over if you want to, and can arrange an appointment by contacting your local screening unit.
What does a Breast Screening test involve?
Breast screening involves having an X-ray (mammogram) at a special clinic or mobile breast screening unit. This is done by a female health practitioner called a mammographer.
You should call your breast screening unit (contact details will be on your invitation letter) before your appointment in certain situations:
- If you have a physical diasbility or find climbing steps difficult. This is so your screening unit can make any necessary arrangements for you.
- If you have breast implants. Mammography can be less effective in women who have breast implants because the X-rays cannot "see" through the implant to the breast tissue behind it. You'll usually be able to have a mammogram, but let the screening staff know beforehand.
- If you have had a mammogram recently, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. You may be advised to delay breast screening.
- Upon your arrival the staff will check your details and ask you about any breast problems you have had. You can also ask any questions you may have.
- You'll need to undress to the waist.
- The mammographer will then explain what will happen. She'll then place your breast onto the mammogram machine and lower a plastic plate onto it gently but firmly to flatten it. This helps keep your breast still and ensures a clear X-ray.
- .Once your test is completed the mammogram will be checked for any abnormalities. The results of the mammogram will be sent to you and your GP within 2 weeks of your appointment.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are worried about breast cancer symptoms such as a lump or your breasts look or feel different from what's normal for you, do not wait to be invited for breast screening. Contact the surgery to arrange an appointment with a GP.
For further information about Breast Screening please click HERE