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Don't let Covid-19 get in the way of your breast screening appointment

22nd October 2020

Routine breast screening services are fully operational in Lancashire and South Cumbria. Local people are being assured that it is safe to attend this quick but vital appointment if invited.

Breast screening can spot cancers when they are too small to see or feel, and it is important to find early signs of cancer to improve the chances of recovery. The risk of breast cancer increases with age, which is why all people with breasts aged between 50 and 70 are invited for screening every three years.

Dorothy's story

66-year-old Dorothy recently received a letter inviting her for routine breast screening.

Dorothy said:

"I've been for breast screening before. This time things were a bit different because of coronavirus. I found it really easy to book – the lady on the phone was very helpful at providing a time that suited me. I told them that my arthritis means I struggle with steps, so they made sure I was booked into an easily accessible clinic.

I've been quite wary about going out during the pandemic, but I knew how important it was to have this routine check. I felt really safe and reassured by the measures in place at the clinic, and it was much quieter than when I’d been before.

When I arrived, the receptionist took my temperature and told me where to go. There were hand sanitisers everywhere. The waiting area was really quiet and well-spaced out, and in fact I only had to wait a couple of minutes – it all went really smoothly.

They held a plastic plate firmly on to each breast to take an X-ray of each – one from above and one from the side. It was a little bit uncomfortable at times, but it was only for a second or two.

The nurse who did the screening was wearing a face mask and protective clothing, but I felt very safe and comfortable. She was really helpful and put me at ease.

I really would encourage people to attend – it is worth going for your peace of mind. I’ve not had my results through yet, but if they did call me back, I’d be happy to go in again for any further checks.”

Watch Dorothy's video

Why it is important to look out for signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Dr Neil Smith, local GP and Primary Care Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance, said:

“If you are due for your breast screening appointment, you will receive a letter in the post inviting you to call to book an appointment.

However, if you’re worried about a lump or an area of thickened tissue in the breast, or you notice that your breasts look or feel different, do not wait to be offered a screening appointment, talk to your GP straight away.

In most cases it won’t be cancer, but it’s best to get checked over because early diagnosis saves lives.”

Watch our video on breast cancer signs and symptoms and breast screening appointments

Hear from GP Dr Neil Smith on spotting the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and what to do if you are worried - and from Lisa Buckley, Office Manager and Janet Ellison, Patient Navigator at South Lancashire Breast Screening Unit, about what it is like attending a breast screening appointment during the Covid-19 pandemic and the support that is in place for you.