National Breast Screening
Why the NHS offers breast screening
The NHS offers screening to save lives from breast cancer. Screening does this by finding breast cancers at an early stage when they are too small to see or feel. Screening does not prevent you from getting breast cancer.
Breast screening does have some risks. Some women who have screening will be diagnosed and treated for breast cancer that would never otherwise have been found or caused them harm.
Why you have been invited for breast screening
All women aged 50 up to their 71st birthday are invited for breast screening every 3 years. NHS send first invitations to screening some time between your 50th and 53rd birthdays.
If you are aged 71 or over, you are still at risk of breast cancer. Although you will no longer receive screening invitations after your 71st birthday, you can still have breast screening every 3 years. You will need to ask your local breast screening unit for an appointment. Find details of your local unit on the NHS.UK website.
Some local breast screening services may send you SMS (text) appointment reminders for breast screening.
Arranging your appointment
Contact the screening office on 0203 758 2024 to get this booked in at your earliest convenience. Alternatively you can book online https://www.london-breastscreening.org.uk/ChangeAppFormW2.aspx – (you will need your NHS number if booking online) – The Closest Breast Screening Service is located at:
The Rose Centre
St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust
For Information on screening please see: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer-screening/
Breast screening uses an X-ray test called a mammogram to check the breast for signs of cancer. It can spot cancers that are too small to see or feel.
Choosing to have breast screening
When you arrive at the breast screening unit, the staff will check your details and ask you about any breast problems you have had. If you have any questions, please ask.
Mammograms are carried out by women called mammographers. The mammographer will first explain what will happen. She will then place your breast onto the mammogram machine and lower a plastic plate onto it to flatten it. This helps to keep your breast still and get clear X-rays.
The mammographer will usually take 2 X-rays of each breast, one from above and one from the side. She will go behind a screen while the X-rays are taken. You have to keep still for several seconds each time.
The whole appointment takes less than 30 minutes and the mammogram only takes a few minutes.