As Breast Cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, Breast Screening is important in a woman’s well being plan, particularly as she gets older and the risk increases. Mammography is one of the steps to Early Detection.
Our Mammography service is currently suspended due to Coronavirus. You can still book a Breast Awareness appointment.
The NHS Breast Screening program has a 5 point plan for being Breast Aware and mammography forms part of this plan as point 5.
Know what’s normal for you
Look at your breasts and feel them
Know what changes to look for
Report any changes without delay
Attend routine screening if you’re 50 or over
What does the NHS provide?
The NHS provides routine screening via 3 yearly mammograms from age 50-71 and then by request by those over the age of 71. In some area’s trials are running that mean you may be called for screening from age 47 to 74. Also, sometimes some women are not called immediately on hitting age 50 due to the location of the mobile units.
Why do they screen at these ages?
Below age 40 – the risks of breast cancer are much less and breast tissue is more dense making it difficult to see smaller abnormalities, making it less accurate and increasing the risk of an un-needed intervention.
Women from 40-49 – women at this age group are still considered to have a risk but a smaller one to those that are older. The upper age of this group are being trialled in some areas as it has been recognised that some interval cancers can be found. The NHS do not routinely screen this age group unless in a trial area
Women 50-71 – the NHS routinely invite for screening every 3 years.
Women aged 71+ – Women can access the program but need to request their 3 yearly screening.
The NHS have strict protocols on radiation and this means that if you have been mammogramed elsewhere within 12 months of your appointment, they will be unable to screen you.
What does Lady McAdden offer?
Please note our Mammogram service is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you would like to be updated with news relating to our services, please fill in the contact form and request to be added to receive updates. If you are eligible for the NHS National screening service, then please use them in this instance.
Lady McAdden are able to offer routine screening via mammograms for those aged 40+ via self referral. We follow the following interval protocols:
Aged 40-49 – Annually (not less than 12 months)
Aged 50+ – 2 yearly, not within 24 months of an NHS Appointment
Lady McAdden no longer offers a nurse check with the mammogram, if you require advice on being Breast Aware, please go to our Breast Awareness section
What happens in a Mammogram/Breast Screening Appointment?
You will be asked to undress from the waist upwards and remove any jewellery. It is also best that you do not wear antiperspirant on the day as this can affect the mammogram.
The very experienced member of staff will then position you in front of the machine. Don’t worry they see hundreds of women and their naked breasts and won’t be embarrassed. You shouldn’t be embarrassed either.
4 images will be taken – 2 of each breast, one from the top and one from the side. You may find it uncomfortable for a few seconds as the plastic mammogram plates will squash you a bit to get the clearest picture they can. If you find it too uncomfortable, then tell the Radiographer, they can try and adjust how you are positioned.
The radiographer will check the clarity of the images and then ask you to get dressed.
The whole process only takes a few minutes and although it can be uncomfortable for some ladies, has no lasting effects.
What are the risks of radiation?
Mammograms use very small doses of radiation. The risk or harm from this exposure is very low, but repeated x-rays have the potential to cause cancer. The benefits from mammography, however, nearly always outweigh the potential harm from the small radiation exposure. Nevertheless, women should discuss with the screening staff about the need for each x-ray.
If a woman is pregnant, they should inform the radiographer prior to this x-ray as there can be risks to the growing foetus.
To put into context our radiographer pointed out one day that there is less radiation in a mammogram than a return flight to Australia!
How likely is screening to pick up breast cancer?
The National Screening Service typically screen around 2.3-2.4 million women per year. From this they find approx. 0.81% to 0.89% of Breast Cancers, which equates to approximately 20-22,000 women. 55,000 women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer each year and almost half of those are found by women noticing changes themselves. To get assistance in checking yourself and being Breast Aware please go to our Breast Awareness page
To contact the NHS South Essex Breast Screening Service visit http://www.southend.nhs.uk/your-services/diagnostic-therapeutic-services/south-essex-breast-screening-service/ or call 01702 385024
IMPORTANT – If you notice changes in your breasts, do not wait for a breast screening appointment, contact your GP for advice immediately. If you are unsure then call one of the Lady McAdden team, who can support you in calling your GP
What happens after my mammogram has been taken?
Whether the NHS or Lady McAdden the standard protocol is for your mammogram images to be read by 2 highly qualified readers. This usually takes a couple of weeks and you will receive your results via letter or email.
In the event of an abnormality with your mammogram you will be contacted for referral to a Breast Clinic.
It is common for some ladies to be recalled for further views due to the quality of the mammogram, this is called a “technical recall”, this is something to not be concerned about, but purely a precaution as your image may not have been clear enough.
On attending a mammogram appointment it is important to provide the dates and details of where you have had mammograms elsewhere, as these can be shared and provide valuable for the readers to be able to compare your previous images.
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