The National Breast Screening Programme was introduced in 1988 as an early detection service for breast cancer. The programme is very successful and currently saves around 1,400 lives per year.
Breast screening aims to find breast cancer at an early stage, often before there are any symptoms. To do this, an x-ray is taken of each breast (mammogram). Early detection may often mean simpler and more successful treatment.
Women who are aged between 50 – 70 years of age will be routinely invited for free breast screening every three years. The screening office runs a rolling programme which invites women by area. The requirement is that all women will receive their first invitation before their 53rd birthday, but ideally when they are 50.
Women over 70 years of age are more at risk of getting breast cancer than younger women. This is because the risk of getting breast cancer increases with age. About one-third of all breast cancers occur in women over the age of 70, so it is important to continue to be screened every three years. Women over 70 years old can self-refer themselves for a mammogram by contacting the North London Breast Screening Service directly on 0203 758 2024. If you are unsure on how to do this please contact the surgery.
For the latest information on the Breast Cancer Screening programme please see the NHS cancer screening website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer-screening/
Breast self-exam, or regularly examining your breasts on your own, can be an important way to find a breast cancer early, when it’s more likely to be treated successfully. While no single test can detect all breast cancers early, performing self-examination in combination with screening can increase the odds of early detection. Please use the link for tips on how to examine your own breasts: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/womens-health/how-should-i-check-my-breasts/
If you have any concerns about your breasts, regardless of your age, please contact the surgery and speak to a clinician for further advice.