Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. Around one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, but if detected early, treatment has a higher rate of success.
Breast screening aims to find breast cancers early. It uses an X‑ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they’re too small to see or feel. The test takes a few minutes and might feel uncomfortable but shouldn’t be painful. As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women aged from 50 to their 71st birthday and registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast screening every three years’
Dr Neil Smith, Primary Care Director and Cancer Research UK GP for Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance said:
“Breast cancer can affect you at any age, so it’s important to be ‘Breast Aware’ and check your breasts for lumps or a change in size or shape at least once a month. If you notice anything unusual, please don’t wait – contact your GP straight away.
“In most cases it won’t be cancer, but it’s best to get checked over because early diagnosis saves lives. The cancer team have also launched the “Let’s talk cancer” campaign to make cancer part of everyday conversations.”
Under normal circumstances women over 71 could self ‑refer, however, during Covid restoration self-referral for over age 71 has been stopped for now.
Any high risk women will still be screened and the programmes are working to screen the women who have been delayed due to Covid.
Liz Read, Breast Imaging Manager at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said:
“We are in the process of inviting all eligible women in the local area aged between 50 — 70 years to a breast screening appointment, following a brief suspension of the service due to COVID-19. If you have questions regarding your appointment, you can contact the service using the number on the invitation letter you receive.
Advice and support about cancer signs and symptoms
- NHS information about breast screening
- Cancer Research UK information about breast cancer symptoms
- NHS information on breast screening for transgender people
- Lancashire and South Cumbria’s Let’s Talk Cancer campaign