Breast Screening

NCA is committed to increasing uptake of the cancer screening programmes.

Cancer screening involves testing apparently healthy people for signs of disease.

It can save lives by finding cancers at an early stage, or even preventing them. Screening is not the same as the tests a person may have when doctors are diagnosing or treating cancer.

For screening to be useful the tests:

  • need to be reliable at picking up cancers or abnormalities that could lead to cancer
  • overall must do more good than harm to people taking part
  • must be something that people are willing to do
Benefits and risks of breast screening

We know that cancer screening saves thousands of lives each year. It can detect cancers at an early stage and in some cases, even prevent cancers from developing in the first place.

Breast screening uses a test called mammography which involves taking x-rays of the breasts. Screening can help to find breast cancers early, when they are too small to see or feel. These tiny breast cancers are usually easier to treat than larger ones.

Overall, the breast screening programme finds cancer in about 8 out of every 1,000 women having screening.

For more information on breast screening

Promoting access to cancer screening for people with a learning disability

A social care guidance and resource pack for providers of learning disability services.

Cancer Screening – Support for people with a Learning Disability
Public Health England Publications – Breast Screening

Public Health England released national guidance to help breast screening providers support people with a learning disability access their services.  The blog post highlights this guidance and provides links to easy guides for breast screening for people with a learning disability.

Patient Screening Information – Easy Read Formats

Public Health England produced easy read patient information for breast screening, please click here to access a copy.

The PHE Screening team

Public Health England (PHE) existed to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It closed on 30 September 2021 and this blog is no longer updated.

Find out more about the implications for health screening in our Changes ahead for the national screening system blog article.

If you want to stay in touch with screening evidence and policy news, you can subscribe to the UK National Screening Committee blog.