Breast Screening Saves 1,400 Lives a Year
2008 marked the 20th anniversary of the NHS Breast Cancer Screening Program which was the first of its kind in the world. It was initiated by sending invitations to women for screening in 1988 and it had been progressed to national level screening for women above 50 by the mid 1990s.
How Often Should You Have a Mammogram?
From the age of 50, the NHS invites every woman for a mammogram every three years until the age of 70. From 70, women are not routinely invited but are encouraged to request a mammogram once in a three year period.
If a woman is at high risk of breast cancer due to family history, she may be offered additional screening or treatment options.
Why You Should Attend Your Screening Program:
Figures suggest that merely 75.4% of women attended screening when invited in 2006 which means one quarter of UK women between 50 and 70 were reluctant to have a mammogram. Most reasons given were lack of time, but here at Breastlight we encourage all women to whom the screening program is an option to attend and ensure they are aware of their own breast health.
Breast screening is about feeling empowered to be more aware of any changes in your breasts by simply looking and feeling. There is no set way to do this. It just depends how you feel comfortable, in the bath or shower or when dressing, when standing or lying down. This should be part of your everyday routine and not done at any set point of the month or a specific number of times.
If you know how your breasts look and feel at different times, you’ll understand what is normal for you and it would become easy for you to recognize.
There is no such thing as ‘standard’ breasts. What is normal for one woman may not be for another? You will even find that your own two breasts are different from each other. Your breasts may also look and feel different at different stages of your menstrual cycle, some breasts feel tender or lumpy.
Checking your breasts is not only about looking for any abnormal lumps but there are other important changes that you should be aware of too. These include:
- A change in the size or shape of your breast.
- A change in the skin – particularly dimpling or puckering.
- A change in the appearance of the nipple or a discharge from the nipple.
- Breast pain that does not go away after a period.
- Lumpy areas or thickening of the breast.
- If you notice any of these changes must ask your doctor about them as soon as possible. They will probably be harmless but your doctor will be able to reassure you.
- Most of the time you find a lump or any other change it is not serious and can be easily treated if needed. If it should turn out to be cancer then there is a very good chance of successful treatment.
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