Choosing whether to come for routine screening

The NHS Breast Screening Programme is an effective part of the UK's efforts to reduce the death rate from breast cancer. Whilst screening may miss some breast cancers and not all breast cancers can be cured, the majority of breast cancers found at screening are at an early stage when there is an excellent chance of successful treatment. In 2005, 13,064 women in the UK were diagnosed by the breast screening programme and promptly treated for breast cancer. For more information and statistics please refer to

To help you make an informed choice about whether or not to come for breast screening, all eligible women now receive a leaflet, NHS Breast Screening - helping you decide, with your invitation. The leaflet explains the benefits and limitations of breast screening.

Previous mammograms

If you've had a mammogram elsewhere, you can still be screened, as long as your previous mammogram was more than nine months ago. If you have been given your mammograms, please bring them to your next screening appointment for comparison. They will be returned to you with your results.

If you have previously declined screening

You can still come for routine screening even if you have previously declined your appointment. Previous non-attendees are routinely re-invited every three years until the age of 70.

Screening for women over 70

Although women over 70 are not routinely invited for breast screening, they are encouraged to request breast screening every three years as the risk of getting breast cancer does not decrease with age.

Please contact our screening office on 023 8120 4959 if you would like to arrange an appointment. 

The criteria for offering any organised population-wide screening programme is based on the evidence, not just relating to the benefits of the screen, but also the harms. The harms include increased anxiety and having tests and operations for an appearance that turns out to be normal or slow-growing. Some women have other illnesses which means that they will not benefit from an earlier diagnosis of their breast cancer.