It is important that we find breast cancer as early as possible, this is so we can give people the best treatment opportunities and best outcomes.
In the early stages, breast cancers may not be felt by the woman or her GP but can show up on a mammogram. This is why the government introduced the NHS Breast Screening Programme.
To screen we use a mammogram, this is an x-ray of the breast. It can detect breast cancer at a very early stage. Women are invited for their first mammogram between the ages of 50 and 53, then every three years until their 71st birthday.
If you are over 71 you can contact us on 0191 445 2554 every three years for your appointment.
The NHS breast screening programme is not available for younger women. Current evidence tells us it is not as effective in these women. If you are below screening age and are concerned about your breasts, or have a family history of breast cancer, you should speak to your GP.
What is breast screening?
It is important to diagnose breast cancer early. We know that the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcome is likely to be. Breast screening aims to find breast cancer in the early stage, before there are any symptoms. To do this, a mammogram is taken of each breast. We know routine breast screening is most effective if you attend your screening appointments when invited every three years.
What are we looking for?
Breast screening looks for small changes in the breast that could identify the presence of a cancer. The mammogram is able to see these before there are any signs or symptoms which you might find yourself by checking your breasts. Breast screening helps us identify possible cancers and early detection allows for the best treatment opportunities and best outcomes.
Who is offered breast screening?
Breast screening is currently available to women over 50. To receive an automatic invitation you need to be between 50 and 71 years old and registered with an NHS GP. It is important your GP has your correct address and date of birth. Women over 71 are not automatically sent invitations for breast screening. This does not mean that older women can’t develop breast cancer. Women over 71 are still at significant risk of breast cancer. If you are over 71, you can self refer for free breast screening every three years.
If you have a disability, you may need a longer appointment. if English is not your first language and you need an interpreter to translate for you at your appointment we will need to know in advance. Please contact the breast screening team on 0191 445 2554 to let us know.