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Breast screening

Breast screening is offered to all women aged between 50 and 70 every three years. 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.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. About 12,000 women in the UK die of breast cancer every year. Survival from the disease has been improving over time, and now about three out of four women diagnosed with breast cancer are alive 10 years later.

Your risk of getting breast cancer goes up as you get older. About four out of five breast cancers are found in women over 50 years old.

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 but means treatment can be provided to give the best chance of tackling the cancer and surviving.

It's 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.

More information

www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/breastscreen

www.touchlookandcheck.co.uk - local support group

NHS Breast Screening: Helping you decide (PDF leaflet)

NHS Choices breast screening information

 

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