Routine breast screening services are fully operational in Lancashire and South Cumbria. Local people are being assured that it is safe to attend this quick but vital appointment if invited.
One in seven women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The risk increases with age, which is why all people between the ages of 50 to 70 who have breasts, due to either naturally occurring oestrogen or oestrogen hormone therapy are invited for screening every three years.
Breast cancer can affect anyone with breasts, so some trans or non-binary people are also eligible for screening – talk to your GP or Gender Identity Clinic about this.
Breast screening aims to find breast cancers early. In the meantime, if you’re worried about breast cancer symptoms such as a lump or an area of thickened tissue in the breast, or you notice that your breasts look or feel different, do not wait to be offered a screening appointment, talk to your GP.
Rabea Haq, Director of Breast Screening at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust said:
“Routine breast screening services are now fully up and running. If you are due for your screening appointment you will receive an invitation letter in the post. The letter will give you a number to call so you can book an appointment that suits you.
“Breast screening can find early signs of cancer so I would urge everyone to attend their appointment when invited.”
Georgia Argent, Programme Lead at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Breast screening involves having an X-ray (mammogram) at a special clinic or mobile breast screening unit. You will have the chance to talk about any problems or concerns you have. As you will need to undress to the waist, it may be easier to wear trousers or a skirt – rather than a dress.
“Usually two X-rays of each breast are taken – one from above and one from the side. A plastic plate will be gently but firmly pressed onto your breast so that they can get clear pictures. The X-ray test can spot cancers when they’re too small to see or feel.
“The mammogram will be checked for any abnormalities, and the results will be sent to you and your GP within two weeks.”
Sheena Hilton, Programme Manager at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, providing breast screening services for people living in the south of Lancashire, said:
“We understand many people are anxious about coming in for any kind of assessments or treatments at the moment. But we have worked hard to put extra measures in place to keep everyone safe, such as staff wearing PPE and patients wearing a face covering. When you call to book your appointment, you can ask for more information about what to expect or any concerns you might have.
“If you have an appointment, it’s important that you attend so that there are no delays to your care. If you have symptoms of Covid-19 or are self-isolating, you should rearrange your appointment.”
Dr Neil Smith, Primary Care Director and Cancer Research UK GP for Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance said:
“Breast cancer can affect you at any age, so it’s important to be ‘Breast Aware’ and check your breasts for lumps or a change in size or shape at least once a month. If you notice anything unusual, please don’t wait – contact your GP straight away.
“In most cases it won’t be cancer, but it’s best to get checked over because early diagnosis saves lives.”