Breast Screening


What is breast screening?

Approximately 1 in 7 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 1300 lives each year in England.

Who do we screen?

Anyone registered with a GP as female will be invited for NHS breast screening every 3 years between the ages of 50 and 71. You'll get a letter in the post inviting you.

If you're a trans man, trans woman or are non-binary you may be invited automatically, or you may need to talk to your GP surgery or call the local breast screening service to ask for an appointment.

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:

Mobile screening unit

Plymouth Mobile Unit

The mobile unit near Plymouth Albion, Damerel Close, covers the following Plymouth areas:

  • Southway, Whitleigh and Estover
  • Stoke, Milehouse and Keyham
  • Plympton
  • Crownhill and St Budeaux
  • Lipson
  • Plymstock, Wembury and Yealmpton
  • Mutley, Peverell and Eggbuckland
  • Plymouth City Centre and Devonport

Mammogram Equipment  

Image of mobile breast screening unit

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 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

Breast care after your needle biopsy [pdf] 46KB

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?

Please answer the question below, this helps us to reduce the number of spam emails that we receive so that we can spend more time responding to genuine enquiries and feedback. Thank you.