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The importance of breast cancer screening

The NHS are encouraging women to get breast cancer screening. Breast screening involves taking an x-ray of each breast. This will show up changes in the breast tissue that could be an indication of cancer before the woman could have found a lump herself. Some women find it uncomfortable, but every woman should get checked.

Here are a few commonly asked questions about breast screening answered.

Who does it apply to?

The breast cancer screening programme offers free breast screening to women over 50 years old every three years. The programme is extending the age so that people from the ages of 47-73 will get free breast screening every three years.

What happens?

You will first be asked about any symptoms of breast disease and then you will get an x-ray. It can be uncomfortable for some because the breast needs to be compressed to get a clear image at low radiation levels. You will hear back within a few weeks about results.

Why aren’t younger people included?

Health professionals say that routine screening is less effective for younger people. Younger people may need a digital mammography. But they are making the age range for screening larger to get more people checked. Any woman at any age can get their GP to refer her to get screened.

Are the x-rays bad for you?

All x-rays involve radiation but for mammograms it is kept as low as possible. It is much better to get an early diagnosis of breast cancer, so it is important to have the x-ray.

Im over 50 and haven’t got an invitation yet, what do I do?

You should get an invitation between the ages of 50 and 53. If you haven't received one, don't hesitate to contact your GP.

Breast cancer screening is important because it helps in the early detection of cancer. Breast screening can save lives so it is important to get checked out when you have the oppourtunity. If you have any questions or concerns about breast screening, talk to your GP or visit cancerscreening.nhs.uk for more information and contacts.

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