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NHS Kingston

Breast cancer screening


Who is it for?

All women between 50 and 70 years of age are eligible for a free breast screening test, or mammogram. From 2012 the age at which women will be invited for breast cancer screening will be extended to include women aged 47-49 and 70-73. Women over 70 years of age may request screening.

The NHS Breast Screening Programme invites eligible women who are registered with a GP for breast screening every three years.  

What is the benefit?

One in nine women will develop breast cancer at some time in their life. Breast cancer is more common in women over 50. Breast screening does not prevent cancer but can help to find small changes in the breast before there are any other signs or symptoms.

Breast screening reduces the risk of women dying from breast cancer and saves an estimated 1,400 lives each year in this country. 

How do I access this service?

When eligible women are due to be screened they will automatically be sent an invitation in the post to attend their local screening centre.

New location for breast screening in Kingston: 

From January 2012 the breast screening site for Kingston residents moved from the mobile van based at Hawks Road to The Sir William Rous Unit at Kingston Hospital.

The new site enables the service to use digital screening equipment, ensuring that women in Kingston can benefit from the latest technology located in a modern new building. The mobile van based at Hawks Road is not suitable for digital screening and the cost of replacing and upgrading it would be too high. The move to Kingston Hospital ensures the best use of equipment already available at Kingston, which would otherwise be expensive to purchase and maintain. 

Patients will be informed of the new location in letters inviting them for screening.   

What happens then?

When you arrive at the screening centre, if you have any concerns, feel free to ask any questions you have about breast screening. 
When you have undressed and are ready and comfortable, a specialist female member of the screening staff will explain mammography to you and ask you a few questions. She will help position your breasts between two special plates and will take the x-rays. 
Mammography takes a few minutes and your breasts are only pressed between the two plates for a few seconds each. There is no evidence that this procedure harms the breast.

Some women (about one in every 20 who are screened) are called back because the appearance of the x-ray suggests that more tests are needed. Most women will not have any problems and we will call them back again in three years’ time as part of the routine screening process.

Of the cancers found through screening, around half are still small enough to be removed from the breast. This means that the whole breast does not have to be removed. 

Contact details and more information

If you are in the eligible age group and haven’t been invited for screening or if you would like more information, please contact 020 8725 2723/2724 or go to the national NHS breast screening website or South West London breast screening website.

Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group, 2nd floor, Thames House,
180 High Street, Teddington, TW11 8HU
Tel: 020 39419900

NHS 111 NHS Choices