Lifesaving breast screening service is inviting local ladies

From mid November onwards, a potentially lifesaving breast screening service is inviting all ladies from the Stone area who are aged between 47-70 years old to a routine breast screening appointment at County Hospital, Stafford.

Health Improvement Practitioner, Gina Newman is urging all ladies to attend for their appointments. She said

“A six-minute appointment can potentially safe your life. Incidents of breast cancer are very high and are on the increase. It now affects one in eight ladies over the age of 50 and one in three over the age of 70, so screening is very important. It tends to be the younger ladies aged 47 to 53 who do not attend, which is sometimes due to work barriers as the appointments are between 9am and 5pm – but it is easy to change an appointment by email or phone.”

Mammographer Caroline Hanlon and Advanced Assistant Practitioner, Dawn Rowley, are among the team working in the Breast Care unit at County Hospital, Stafford.

Caroline said:

“It might seem like an inconvenience to someone who is well, but the main aim of breast screening is to find changes before a lady has any signs or symptoms, and this is what makes the difference to the outcome. If we find any changes, ladies are invited back for a breast examination, and given further imaging. Sometimes we pick up on things and it turns out to be benign, but we can’t know that until further tests have been done.”

Dawn said

“Some ladies are worried about having the screening as they have heard negative stories. We need to compress the breast so that we can see clearly within the breast tissue and to reduce any blurring, so we get a clear image. Some ladies liken the sensation to having their blood pressure taken. If you are unsure of anything ask us, were here to help.”

The six-minute appointment is offered by GPs to women between the ages of 47 and 70 and most of the all-female NHS team at the Breast Care Unit are also of screening age.

With the mobile unit no longer being situated in Stone, there is a shuttle bus service from Stone to County Hospital, with the cost being £2.50 return, the bus collects and drops off near the supermarket Aldi. Members of the public who wish to use this service are required to pre-book their journey on the Link-Bus booking telephone line – 01782 813047 or by emailing Patients and visitors can make their bookings between Monday and Friday, 9am–5pm.

Women who do not attend their original appointment can telephone 0300 123 1463 to make another appointment, but if the second appointment is missed, they will go back into the system and will receive an invitation for screening in three years’ time.

Breast awareness fact file

• Women of all ages can be affected by breast cancer

• Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women over the age of 50

• 1 in 3 women who get breast cancer are 70 – screening is available to women over 70

• Around 140 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every day

• More women are surviving breast cancer than ever before

• Early detection saves lives – routine screening saves around 1,400 lives each year

• Men can also get breast cancer, but it is rare

• A healthy weight, limiting alcohol, physical activity and not smoking all help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer

• Screening is still possible for women with implants

• All women need to self-examine regularly

Be breast aware and follow the five-point code issued by the Department of Health:

1 – Know what is normal for you

2 – Know what changes to look for

3 – Look and feel

4 – Tell your GP about any changes straight away

5 – Go for breast screening when invited