Breast Screening

What is the Breast Screening Programme?

The NHS Breast Screening Programme was set up by the Department of Health in 1988.

It aims to invite all women aged 50 - 70 years for breast screening once every three years. Nationally the programme screens 1.9 million women each year and diagnoses about 13,500 breast cancers annually.

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.

Invitations for screening appointments are generated based on GP Practice patient lists, so that all women registered with a GP will be regularly called for screening.

There is an established rolling programme which has been in place since 1990 so that the same practice is called for screening every three years and all eligible women within that practice will be invited. The invitation for the first screening appointment will then be made between the ages of 49 1/2 to 52 1/2 years then every three years after that first date. 

The aim of breast screening is to detect breast cancer at an early 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. Currently this saves an estimated 1,400 lives each year in England.

This link will open the NHS Breast Screening Programme for England's web site

Breast Screening in Gloucestershire

 Breast Screening for women in Gloucestershire began in 1988 from our centre in Cheltenham. 

Currently we invite more than 30,000 women from the region for breast screening each year. To enable women to be screened closer to home, breast screening is carried out at a number of sites across the region. 

The NHS Breast Screening Programme is subject to monitoring by the South West Quality Assurance Reference Centre (QARC). It ensures rigorous quality assurance standards are maintained.

This link will open the South West Quality Assurance Reference Centre web site