Avon Breast Screening
The NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHS BSP) has been running since 1989. The long-term objective of the programme is to reduce mortality from breast cancer in the population invited for screening.
The NHS BSP offers breast screening to eligible women aged 50 - 70 once every 3 years. In 2011 the age range was extended from 47 to 73 through the national age extension trial. Nationally, the programme screens 2.4 million women each year and detects an average of 21,000 breast cancers annually (data taken from Audit of Screen-Detected Breast Cancers for the Year of Screening 2013-14).
Breast screening aims to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage, often before the woman is aware of any problem. Currently the NHS Breast Screening Programme saves an estimated 1400 lives each year in England.
The Avon Breast Screening programme invites more than 180,000 women from the area for breast screening. The service is co-ordinated through the Avon Breast Screening Unit which is situated within the Bristol Breast Care Centre at Southmead Hospital. Screening facilities are available on site, at a static unit located at Tower Hill in Bristol and in the community via mobile screening units. These units move around the region and are located at various sites for a period of time during the three year screening cycle.
Breast Screening is available for all eligible women registered with a GP and living on Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire or Bath and North East Somerset and includes those in the Mendip area of Somerset. Women eligible for screening will be sent a personal invitation offering a screening appointment.
All women between 50 and 70 years who are registered with a GP are eligible for screening. A list is compiled from GP records, so it is important to make sure your details are correct.
If you are between 50 and 70 years old you will receive an appointment once every 3 years, inviting you to have a breast screening mammogram.
If you have received an appointment that is not convenient, you can request an alternative location, date or time. If you are over 70 and have not been screened for over 3 years you can request an appointment.
A mammogram is an X-ray examination of the breasts and is a method of finding breast cancer at a very early stage.
NHS Breast Screening Programme
The NHS Breast Screening Programme is monitored by the Quality Assurance Reference Centre (QARC). It ensures rigorous quality assurance standards are maintained.
If you have a breast symptom or are concerned about your breasts, you should contact your GP. They will decide if you need any tests or investigations.
A mammogram will pick up most, but not all, breast problems and is one of a range of tests that may be required for women with breast symptoms.
The Breast Screening Service is about to take part in a national research trial involving 10,000 women. The PROSPECTS Trial and will be trialling a new type of breast scan.