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Women with concerns about possible breast cancer symptoms should book an appointment with a GP or consultant.

Well Women breast screening – helping you make the right decision for you

At Nuffield Health 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. The programme is available at all our our hospitals, excluding Chichester, as well as our medical centres in London and Manchester.

What happens during a mammogram? 

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 with around 12,000 women dying 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 developing breast cancer?  

The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age.  Most cancers are found in women aged over 50. A small number of breast cancers are caused by genetic mutations and are found in family groups.  Your lifestyle can also increase your risk. Being overweight, drinking alcohol and smoking can all be detrimental.

Who is screening for?

Breast screening is for women over 40 years of age who have no breast symptoms and who haven’t had a mammogram within the last 12 months.

What happens at screening?

You will be asked some routine questions before your examination to help 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 two 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? 

Your results may be normal. 96% of women will receive a normal result.

You may need further tests before a definite result can be given. 4% of all screened women will 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.

However, it is not always easy to diagnose breast cancer on a mammogram and you should be aware that you may get a false result which may lead to unnecessary treatment and anxiety.

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.  Only one 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.

There is also a chance of overdiagnosis and treatment. Some of the cancers found on mammography are slow growing and may never develop into a life threatening cancer. But it’s impossible to differentiate these cancers and so some women will have treatment unnecessarily. Some studies have shown that if 2000 women are screened regularly for 10 years 10 women will undergo treatment unnecessarily. 

Rarely, cancers are missed on mammograms. Statistics show that there is a likelihood of 1 cancer being missed when 2,500 women are 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.

What are the benefits of breast screening?

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. This reduces your chance of dying from breast cancer due to early diagnosis and simpler treatment.

Making the right choice

Having a mammogram is your choice.  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. This is fine. 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 the number above and a phone consultation can be arranged.  

Find your nearest hospital that provides this test
Bournemouth  

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
Overall rating View rating
Brentwood  

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good
Brighton  

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Good
Bristol  

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good
Cambridge  

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370 922
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700
Cheltenham  

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 6SY

01242 246 552
Overall rating Good
Chester  

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good
Derby  

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good
Exeter  

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 276 591
Overall rating Good
Glasgow  

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ

01413349441
Guildford  

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555 800
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good
Hereford  

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good
Ipswich  

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good
Leeds  

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding
Leicester  

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 276 9401
Overall rating Good
Manchester Diagnostic Suite  

Nelson Street, Manchester, M13 9NQ

0161 272 5890
Overall rating Unknown
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
Overall rating Good
Oxford  

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good
Plymouth  

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
Overall rating View rating
Taunton  

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good
Tees  

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good
Warwickshire  

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 427971
Overall rating Good
Wessex  

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good
Woking  

Shores Road, Woking, GU21 4BY

Switchboard 01483 227800
Overall rating Good
Wolverhampton  

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 793 269
Overall rating Good
York  

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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