Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer found in women in the UK. A mammogram is an X-ray of your breasts that screens for breast cancer. Although it mainly affects older women, it can occur at a younger age.
Regular breast screening makes it easier to detect breast cancer early. The earlier breast cancer is identified, the more likely that treatment will be successful.
How often should I have a breast screen?
As part of BMI’s continuing commitment to quality care, our Breast Screening Mammography programme includes the screening of asymptomatic women (without symptoms) aged 40 and over. A screening every 12-18 months is recommended between 40 and 49 years of age and every 2 years after 50.
As part of the NHS Breast Cancer Screening Programme, women aged 50-70 are invited for a mammogram every 3 years, with some trusts offering screening to those aged 47 -73. After 73, although mammograms are available, they need to be requested individually by the woman.
It is important to note that a mammogram does not prevent breast cancer; however it is a diagnostic tool for early detection. It is important to remember that breast cancer could develop in between your screening appointments so regular self checks are important. If you notice any changes to your breasts you should tell your GP straight away.
Do I need a referral for a breast screen?
Yes you will need a referral for a breast screen. You can go to your GP and ask to be referred into a BMI breast screening clinic or you can book an appointment with a BMI Healthcare breast consultant who will arrange a referral into the clinic for you. The GP or consultant and radiologist will advise whether a mammogram is an appropriate screening method for you.
What happens during the breast screening?
No preparation is required before the mammogram. On arrival at the hospital you will have your mammogram which will be performed by a consultant breast radiographer. Your mammogram will be read by a specialist breast radiologist and if an abnormality is identified it may be discussed with you at the time. Your results will be sent back to your GP who will then arrange an appointment with you to share the results. If you were referred by a BMI Healthcare breast consultant rather than your GP, your consultant will arrange a follow up consultation to deliver the results of the mammogram.
Bupa breast care accreditation
Over 30 of our hospitals have been awarded Bupa accreditation for our breast cancer care which includes our screening and diagnostics clinics. This provides re-assurance that you’ll receive high quality care and an expert diagnosis.
Our breast screening clinics are for patients paying for themselves. In most cases private health insurers do not cover the cost of routine breast screenings. The screening charges will be explained to you at the time of booking.
For further information or to book a consultation or treatment, please get in touch with our cancer enquiries team:
Call us on 0800 157 7747
Alternatively you can find out more about breast cancer in our consultant Q&A or find out about breast cancer treatments at BMI.