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Tunbridge Wells Hospital

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Helpdesk 01892 552 932
Physiotherapy 03450454845
Switchboard 01892 531111
Radiology 01892 552 916

Why choose Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells Hospital for your breast screening?

At Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells Hospital we believe it’s good to get screened regularly. Spotting symptoms early increases the chances of diagnosing a condition before it becomes serious.

Our breast care experts are able to screen you for any abnormalities of your breast. If left untreated something out of the ordinary can lead to cancer. However, most abnormalities will turn out not to be serious. With early detection, treatment can be more successful.

At Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells Hospital you don't have to worry or wait if you want the peace of mind of breast screening. You can refer yourself for a self-pay mammogram if you're over 40-years-old and haven't experienced any symptoms or had screening within the last 12 months.

We have invested heavily in our diagnostic equipment recently and our state-of-the-art scanners are able to deliver fast and accurate results from your breast screen.

What is breast screening?

The purpose of breast screening is to find women with breast cancer so that early treatment can be offered. Breast screening uses X-rays (called mammograms) to find cancers in the breast which are too small to feel.

What is breast cancer?

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK
  • Approximately 12,000 women die of the disease every year
  • Breast cancer is a malignant tumour that is made up of a group of cancer cells found in the milk ducts that can grow into surrounding tissue and may spread to other areas of the body.

What increases the risk of breast cancer?

  • The risk of developing breast cancer increases as we get older
  • Most cancers are found in women over 50
  • A small number of breast cancers are caused by genetic mutations
  • Your lifestyle can increase your risk
  • Being overweight, drinking alcohol and smoking can all be detrimental.

Who is screening for?

Breast screening is for women over 40 who have no breast symptoms and who haven’t had a mammogram within the last year.

What happens during a screening at Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells?

  • You will be asked some routine questions before your examination to aid the doctor reporting your images
  • After undressing to your waist the mammographer will position you next to the x-ray machine and then will place each of your breasts in turn onto the x-ray table compressing them firmly with a plastic plate while the picture is taken
  • This takes only a few seconds and then the pressure is released
  • At least 2 views are taken on each side in order to show all of the breast tissue
  • After the mammographer has told you how you will get your results you will be free to go
  • The whole examination should take no more than 15 minutes.

What might the results be?

  • 96% of women receive a normal result
  • 4% of women screened require further tests
  • Sometimes your mammogram may need to be repeated for technical reasons. You may not have been in the correct position or you may have moved during the picture
  • It is not always easy to diagnose breast cancer on a mammogram
  • You may be told that you need extra tests before a diagnosis can be made
  • After these tests you may be given the all clear and told that your result is normal
  • This is called a false positive result and can be very worrying at the time
  • 4 out of every 100 women screened will need extra tests
  • Statically only 1 of these women will have a cancer diagnosed
  • The others will be classed normal and should attend for screening again when their next appointment is due
  • Not all cancers are visible on a mammogram
  • You may get a normal result when a small cancer is really there. This is called a false negative result
  • So even after a normal breast screening you should always see your GP if you find a change in your breast
  • Some of the cancers found on mammography are slow growing and may never develop into a life threatening cancer
  • Rarely, cancers are missed on mammograms. Statistics show that there is a likelihood of 1 cancer being missed for every 2,500 women screened.

Do I want breast screening?

Although breast screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can detect it early which means that you are less likely to need a mastectomy and more likely to survive the disease. Research shows that surviving breast cancer is now much more possible with 3 out of 4 women diagnosed living at least 10 years. 1 life is saved for every 200 women that are screened.

Breast screening - The benefits

  • Knowing that no cancer has shown on your mammogram may give you reassurance and so you may feel less worried about breast cancer
  • Detecting cancers when they are very small can mean simpler and less invasive treatment
  • The purpose of breast screening mammograms is to find breast cancer early
  • Early detection reduces your chance of dying from breast cancer due to early diagnosis and simpler treatment.

Making the right choice

Undergoing a mammogram is your choice and we want you to have as much information as possible so you are confident to make that choice.

We encourage you to access this online tool which helps calculate your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer which you can compare with a women of the same age. If you find your risk is low you may decide not to proceed with the mammogram. We just ask that you let us know so we can cancel your appointment.

If you find your risk is high you may be anxious and want to ask some questions. We have a clinical support service manned by a group of trained doctors who can help you. Call us today to arrange a consultation.

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