Women who are registered with a GP, and aged 50-74 are sent invitations to attend breast cancer screening appointments every three years.

And doctors across the region are strongly encouraging everyone that is asked to attend a breast cancer screening appointment to act quickly on their invitation.

Hospitals, GP surgeries and mobile screening units across Cheshire & Merseyside have put measures in place to keep people safe during their appointments, including dedicated ‘COVID-secure’ facilities. Social distancing and rigorous precautions are in place, alongside extra cleaning regimes.

Undertaking breast cancer screening helps the vast majority of women to get the reassurance that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. But for the small proportion where the test shows up something that needs a closer look, it also helps them to get a further test, or if necessary, the treatment they need. If breast cancers are caught early, patients are far more likely to survive and far less likely to require invasive treatment.

Dr Cheryl Lowes, a GP in North Liverpool said:

“Screening picks up those people that have breast cancer but who are at such an early stage that they’re not yet symptomatic. When we pick up breast cancer early, it means that the outcomes and the treatment options are so much better.

About 1 in 25 people who attend that initial screening will get a recall for further investigation. And then it’s only 1 in 4 of those that get recalled that have a diagnosis of breast cancer. 

When you get an invitation for a screening, it will probably be to a mobile breast screening unit. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, or have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace, you’ll be asked to defer your appointment. But if this doesn’t apply to you, you can be reassured that it is very safe for you to attend.”

Dr Chris Warburton, Medical Director for Cheshire & Merseyside Cancer Alliance said:

“Screening can both reassure patients, and catch any issues early, meaning that people are far more likely to both survive and avoid having invasive treatment. Getting screened is easy, quick and safe for all people who get invited.”

More information on Cancer Screening is available at nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-screening

Do not attend and please cancel any appointments you may have if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. The main symptoms are:

·      A high temperature

·      A new continuous cough

·      A loss or change to their sense of smell or taste.

If you have any of those symptoms, you should:

·      Get a COVID-19 test as soon as possible – visit 111.nhs.uk for more information or call 119 to book a test.

·      Stay at home and don’t have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

·      Do not go to places like a GP practice, hospital, or pharmacy.

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