Attending your breast cancer screening is only half the job

Attending your breast cancer screening is only half the job

While attending your routine breast cancer screenings is important, you could still be putting your health at risk by not checking your breasts at home in between appointments.

One in seven of us is guilty of not checking our breasts for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, despite attending screenings.
Routine breast screening only takes place every three years, so it’s important to check your breasts between mammograms as symptoms can occur at any time. The survey, by Breast Cancer Care, showed that, despite the majority of those aged 50 to 70 attending breast screening when they are invited (84 per cent), one in seven (14 per cent) never check their breasts outside these appointments.
The charity also found just over half (51 per cent) of the women surveyed did not know they could continue requesting mammograms after receiving their final screening invitation by the time they are 70 years of age, despite two thirds (65 per cent) saying they would be likely to do so.
The NHS currently offers routine breast screening for all women every three years from the ages of 50 to 70. In some areas of England women are invited to have screening between the ages of 47 and 73 as part of an ongoing trial.
“Early detection of breast cancer can save lives," says Samia al Qadhi, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Care, "So it’s vital women know to keep checking their breasts, even if they’re attending regular mammograms, and that they can request screening appointments after the age of 70, as symptoms can occur at any time.
“There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts – it’s about looking and feeling regularly, so any unusual changes can be spotted quickly.
“The majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in women over 50. So we must make sure that, as women get older, they are armed with all the information they need about breast cancer symptoms and routine screening.”