Greendsand Surgery, Ampthill
The Health Centre, Oliver Street, Ampthill, Beds, MK45 2SB
Appointments: 01525 631391
General Enquiries: 01525 631390
Out of Hours: 111
Fax: 01525 631393

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Breast cancer screening

When it's offered

Women who are aged 50-70 and are registered with a GP are automatically invited for screening every three years.

Breast screening is currently offered to women aged 50-70 in England. However, the NHS is in the process of extending the programme as a trial, offering screening to some women aged 47-73.

You will first be invited for screening between your 50th and 53rd birthday, although in some areas you’ll be invited from the age of 47 as part of the trial extension of the programme.

If you want to change the appointment you’ve been given, contact the name and address on your invitation letter.

You may be eligible for breast cancer screening before the age of 50 if you have a higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer (see below).

If you're over the age of 70 (73 in areas where the trial is in place), you'll stop receiving screening invitations. However, you're still eligible for screening and can arrange an appointment directly with your local breast screening unit.

Find breast cancer screening units in your area.

If you have a family history of breast cancer

If you think you may have an increased risk of breast cancer because you have a family history of breast cancer (female or male) or ovarian cancer, talk to your GP so you can be referred to a hospital high-risk clinic. The clinic may refer you for genetic testing, if they feel it is appropriate.

Read about genetic counselling and predictive genetic tests for cancer risk genes.

Screening for women at high risk of breast cancer

If you've been found to have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, you may have yearly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans or mammograms, depending on your age and your specific level of risk. MRI scans are sometimes used instead of mammograms, because they're better at detecting cancer if you have dense breast tissue.