NHS Breast Screening Programme saves 1,400 lives a year
2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the NHS Breast Screening Programme, which was the first of its kind in the world. It began inviting women for screening in 1988 and national coverage was achieved by the mid 1990s.
Around one and a half million women are now screened in the UK each year and, with the expected number of women in this age band expected to increase by 20% between 2005 and 2025, the demand for the service will continue to stretch the NHS.
How often should you have a mammogram
From the age of 50 or above, the NHS invites every woman for a mammogram every 3 years until the age of 70.
After the age of 70, women are not routinely invited for a mammogram but are encouraged to request one every 3 years.
If you feel you are at high risk of breast cancer, if you have a family history for example, your GP will be able to advise if you are a candidate for more frequent monitoring.
1 in 4 invited women however don’t attend screening
Most recent figures show that 75.4% of women invited for screening in 2006 attended. But that still means that 1 in 4 women are not presenting for their regular screen. Most common reasons given for non-attendance are fear, known issues or lack of time but women need to realise that screening is a powerful tool in taking control of their own breast awareness.
For more information http://www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/breastscreen/