What is Breast Screening?
Approximately 1 in 8 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.
Breast Screening aims to find breast cancers early. It uses an X-ray examination called a mammogram that can find cancers when they're too small to see or feel. If detected early, treatment is more successful and there's a good chance of recovery.
Currently the NHS Breast Screening Programme saves an estimated 1400 lives each year in England.
Who do we Screen?
The West Devon and East Cornwall Breast Screening Service invites approximately 86,000 women between the ages of 50 and 71. Every woman registered at a GP practice within West Devon and East Cornwall will be invited to have a mammogram every 3 years.
Our service is coordinated through the Primrose Breast Screening Unit which is situated within Derriford Hospital. Women can be invited to have their mammogram at the Primrose Unit, at a static unit located in the Plymouth Guildhall in the City Centre, or at our mobile unit that travels around to various locations outside of Plymouth during the 3 year Breast Screening cycle.
Mobile Unit Locations
The Mobile Unit goes to the following locations:
- Tavistock (covering also Horrabridge and Yelverton)
- Kingsbridge (covering also Modbury, Salcombe and Chillington)
- Callington (covering also Gunnislake)
- Ivybridge (covering also South Brent)
The Plymouth Guildhall covers the following Plymouth areas:
- Southway, Whitleigh and Estover
- Stoke, Mileshouse and Keyham
- Crownhill and St Budeaux
- Plymstock, Wembury and Yealmpton
- Mutley, Peverell and Eggbuckland
- Plymouth City Centre and Devonport
Breast Screening Part 2
When will I get my Invitation?
Women will be invited for their first mammogram sometime between their 50th and 53rd birthdays, depending on when their GP practice is being invited.
Breast screening information leaflets
Breast screening: helping you decide [pdf] 618KB
Breast screening for women at higher risk [pdf] 110KB
What if I can’t make the Appointment Offered to me?
You can telephone the Screening Office on 01752 431652 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to change or cancel your appointment.
What Can I Expect to Happen at my Appointment?
You will be greeted by a female mammographer who will ask for your name and take you into an interview room where she will ask you for more details, such as your date of birth and address. You will also be asked about any history of Breast Cancer you or your family have and also if you have had a mammogram before.
You will then be asked to go into a changing room and undress from the waist up. It is advised that you wear a top and bottom outfit rather than a dress.
In the x-ray room the mammographer will take images of your breasts by compressing your breasts in the x-ray machine. Some women may find this uncomfortable, however each image will only take a few seconds and the whole exam will only take a few minutes.
Women should expect to receive their results within 3 weeks of the appointment. Occasionally a technical recall will occur meaning some or all of the images taken were not clear enough to read and you will be called back to have more images taken.
Most women will have a normal result. About 96 of 100 women screened will receive a letter to say the images taken showed no signs of a breast cancer.
Cancer can develop between mammograms so remember to still check your breasts regularly and see your GP if you notice any changes.
About 4 in every 100 women screened will have an abnormal result and will be called back to an assessment clinic for more tests. Out of these 4 women, 1 will be found to have a breast cancer.
Breast screening further test
Partial Mammography Leaflet [pdf] 26KB
Breast screening assessment clinic - Why have I been called back? [pdf] 307KB