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Advice and guidance to support you through breast screening

Women aged between 50 and 70 in Bury are being urged to accept their invitation for NHS breast screening.

Breast screening is offered to this group of women every three years, and some older and younger women are also being invited as part of a study of screening in different age groups. It aims to save lives by detecting breast cancer at an early stage and involves an x-ray test called a mammogram. This can detect small changes in breast tissue which may indicate cancers which are too small to be felt.

In 2013, Bury had the highest uptake rates for breast screening in Greater Manchester, with 77.5% of eligible women having been screened within the last three years. However, more still needs to be done to raise awareness.

Dr Liane Harris, local GP and clinical lead for cancer at Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK so it’s important that women attend an appointment.

“Although about 12,000 women in the UK die of breast cancer every year, survival from the disease has improved over the past 40 years, and now more than three out of four women diagnosed with breast cancer are living 10 and more years later. This is because of early detection through mammograms, high volume specialised breast clinics and better treatments.

“Screening does not prevent you from getting breast cancer but means treatment can be provided early to give the best chance of tackling the cancer so giving the best chances of survival. Please accept your invitation and make an appointment. It could save your life."

It is important to note that most women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

If you are over 70, you are still at risk of breast cancer. Although you will no longer automatically be invited for screening after you are 70, you can still have breast screening every three years. You will need to contact your local breast screening unit and ask for an appointment. For women living in Bury, the phone number is 01204 390397.

What to expect at your breast screening appointment

 Your breast screening appointment could be lifesaving – and a visit to a screening unit usually only takes about half an hour.

It might have been a few years since your last breast screening appointment, or you may be due your first screening; here’s an overview of what to expect to put you at ease.

Your screening involves an x-ray test called a mammogram, conducted by a female practitioner. At your appointment, the practitioner will ask you about any symptoms or history of breast cancer, explain the mammogram procedure, and answer any questions you may have.

Once you have all the facts and are happy to proceed, the practitioner will carry out the mammogram. During the procedure, each breast is placed in turn on the x-ray machine for a few seconds and gently but firmly compressed. It is important to note that the test is not harmful to the breasts. Some women find compression slightly uncomfortable and some feel short-lived discomfort.

After the procedure, your practitioner explains when and how you will get your results.

Find out more about breast screening at www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/breastscreen

Please note that screening is for people without symptoms. If you are concerned about any breast symptoms, you should contact your GP.

ENDS

 FOR PRESS & MEDIA ENQUIRIES: contact Emma Wharfe, Communications and Engagement Officer on 07795 507 462 or email buccg.communications@nhs.net  

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