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Breast Screening (Mammography)

  

Breast screening aims to find breast cancer at an early stage, often before there are any symptoms. To do this, an x-ray is taken of each breast (mammogram). Early detection may often mean simpler and more successful treatment


Breast Screening (Mammography) in Coventry & Warwickshire

Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry - Breast screening serviceThe Warwickshire, Solihull & Coventry Breast Screening Service is part of the National Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) and is one of the largest breast screening services in England, inviting around 55,000 women for screening each year.

We provide a free breast screening service for well women aged between 47 and 73, resident in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire.

 

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About Breast Screening

The NHS Breast Screening Programme began in 1988. It aims to invite all women aged 50 – 70 years for breast screening once every three years.

The screening programme also offers women over 70 a free breast screen every three years. These women will not be sent an invitation but are encouraged to call the unit to make an appointment that suits them.

The aim of breast screening is to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage, often before the woman is aware of any problem.

Early detection may mean simpler and more successful treatment. Scientific evidence shows that regular breast screening, between the ages of 50 – 70 years, reduces the death rate from breast cancer. See the NHS Breast Screening Programme website for more details.

Extended Screening Age Range 47-73

In December 2007 the Department of Health’s Cancer Reform Strategy announced that the NHSBSP would be starting a trial to extended screening cover to women between the ages of 47 and 73.

The Warwickshire, Solihull & Coventry Breast Screening Service started phasing in this new age trial in January 2009 with full coverage by 2020. Around half of the women aged 47 to 49 and 71 to 73 years of age will be selected at random to receive screening invitations by 2020. If your GP practice has been screened since January 2015 and you are in this new age range but have not received an appointment and would like one, please contact the screening service.

To enable women to be screened closer to home, breast screening is carried out at a number of sites across the region.

Screening Appointments

If you are between 50 and 70 years old you will receive an appointment once every three years, inviting you to have a breast screening mammogram. You do not have to contact us to make an appointment, we will ensure that you receive your invitation at the appropriate time.

The screening programme also offers women over 70 a free breast screen every three years. Women over 70 will not be sent an invitation but are encouraged to call the unit to make an appointment that suits them.

If you would like to know whether you will be invited soon you can look at the screening schedule If it has been over three years since your last breast screening appointment then please contact us.We have a range of different locations where you can be screened and a range of appointment dates and times. We try to invite you to a screening clinic that is convenient for most women in your GP practice but we appreciate that this may not always suit you. Find out more about our screening locations.

When you receive your invitation letter you will see that we have already allocated you a specific screening location, appointment date and time. If you find this appointment inconvenient then please complete the appointment request form so we can arrange an alternative location, date or time.

Where we screen

Women living in Coventry, Solihull, Rugby, South Warwickshire and parts of North Warwickshire will be invited for screening at one of our mobile units, whilst women living in Nuneaton will be invited to the Breast Care Unit at George Eliot Hospital.

You will normally be invited to a location within the area of your GP’s surgery. If your invitation is not at a convenient location then please let us know and we can arrange an appointment at any convenient location where we are currently screening. Just complete the change your appointment form and we will rearrange it for you.

Our appointments are at five minute intervals. If you have been invited to a mobile unit and have mobility problems, including difficulty with steps, please contact the Screening Office.

Please note screening is strictly by appointment only.

Women without breast cancer but at moderate or high risk (NICE Guidance)

If you have a moderate or high risk of developing breast cancer you may be offered regular scans of your breasts to check for breast cancer. Using scans for the early detection of breast cancer is called ‘surveillance’.

Screening for women at higher risk can occur from a younger age if risk is assessed as high due to family history or gene mutation.

This requires assessment by the local genetic service (Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham) see link right

For patients that have gone through the genetics service and early mammograms are required due to family history etc. referrals need to be sent to; Uhc-tr.highriskscreening@nhs.net

Depending on your age, your estimated risk of cancer and whether you have a faulty gene or a high chance of a faulty gene, your breast care team may offer a mammogram or an MRI scan, or both.

Mammograms and MRI scans take images of the insides of the breasts. Mammograms produce images using low-dose X-rays whereas MRI scans use magnetic waves. The breast care team looks at these images to search for signs of cancer. Not all breast changes are due to cancer.

The type of surveillance recommended by NICE for women of different ages and levels of risk is shown in the table below.

Risk group
Age (years) Moderate High High with more than 30% chance of a faulty BRCA gene High with a faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene High with more than 30% chance of a faulty TP53 gene High with a faulty TP53 gene
20–29 None None None None Yearly MRI Yearly MRI
30–39 None You may have a yearly mammogram Yearly MRI and possibly yearly mammogram Yearly MRI and possibly yearly mammogram Yearly MRI Yearly MRI
40–49 Yearly mammogram Yearly mammogram Yearly mammogram and yearly MRI Yearly mammogram and yearly MRI Yearly MRI Yearly MRI
50–59 You may have a yearly mammogram Yearly mammogram Yearly mammogram

MRI if mammogram shows dense breasts

Yearly mammogram

MRI if mammogram shows dense breasts

Mammogram as part of the population screening programme[1]

MRI if mammogram shows dense breasts

You may have yearly MRI
60–69 Mammogram as part of the population screening programme[1] Mammogram as part of the population screening programme[1] Mammogram as part of the population screening programme[1]

MRI if mammogram shows dense breasts

Yearly mammogram

MRI if mammogram shows dense breasts

Mammogram as part of the population screening programme[1]

MRI if mammogram shows dense breasts

You may have yearly MRI
70+ Mammogram as part of the population screening programme[1] Mammogram as part of the population screening programme[1] Mammogram as part of the population screening programme[1] Mammogram as part of the population screening programme[1] Mammogram as part of the population screening programme[1] None

Women aged 50 to 70 are offered mammograms every 3 years as part of the population screening programme[1]. If you have a family history of breast cancer you may have yearly mammograms or MRI scans after you reach 50, as shown in the table.

Other imaging options

Sometimes women may be offered ultrasound scans when:

  • MRI scanning would normally be used but is not suitable (for example, because they have claustrophobia and do not want to go into the MRI machine)
  • More investigation is needed after a mammogram or MRI scan.
Women who have had breast cancer

If you have breast cancer you should be offered yearly mammograms for 5 years.

If you have a family history and are at high risk of another breast cancer you should also have:

  • Yearly MRI scans if you are between 30 and 49
  • Yearly mammograms if you are between 50 and 69 and do not have a faulty TP53 gene
  • Mammograms as part of the population screening programme[1] if you are 70 or over and do not have a faulty TP53 gene.
  • If you have had breast cancer and you have a faulty TP53 gene, you may be offered yearly MRI scans between the ages of 20 and 69 years.

[1For information and advice about population screening programmes see www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/breastscreen (England), www.breasttestwales.wales.nhs.uk/home (Wales) and www.cancerscreening.hscni.net (Northern Ireland).

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