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Breast screening

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Breast Screening is when we look at what is happening in women's breasts so we can check for diseases and cancer.

This page gives you information about our breast screening service and links on the left to more information.

COVID-19 update

The Breast Screening Service has now resumed after it was temporarily suspended due to the impact of COVID-19.

Any women who had an appointment cancelled will be sent a letter to rebook a suitable appointment.

Due to social distancing requirements, the majority of patients will be expected to attend their appointments unaccompanied. However, if you do require a companion for your appointment, you will be invited to a special clinic at Broadgreen Hospital which will accommodate this. 

The waiting room at the Broadgreen Hospital site will be for patients only and the mobile sites will be operating a strict one in - one out system. To facilitate this, patients attending a mobile unit will be asked to wait outside until they are called in by a member of staff.

On arrival for a screening appointment, all patients will be asked to use the hand sanitiser provided and any patient without a face covering will be provided with a face mask.

Understandably it may take us a little while to see everyone who is now due for their screening appointment, and we will endeavour to prioritise those women who have been previously cancelled. We will be inviting all GP practices in their usual order as soon as we have the capacity to safely do so.

If you have any questions regarding breast screening, please contact us on 0151 282 6920/6921.

 

 

The Liverpool Breast Screening Service

Providing a service for the women of Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley

Breast Screening by Mammography

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. At least two pictures will be taken of each breast. Mammograms only take a few minutes to complete.

Any x-ray involves radiation, but mammograms only require a very low dose. It is about the same as the dose a person receives by flying from London to Australia and back. The risk that such a low dose could cause a cancer is far outweighed by the benefits of early detection of breast cancer. The radiation dose delivered by breast screening x-rays is continually monitored to ensure that it remains as low as possible while still providing a good quality image.

For a discussion of radiation doses in the NHS Breast Screening Programme, see the following reference: The British Journal of Radiology, 78 (2005), 207*218.

Introduction to the breast screening unit at Broadgreen

Breast screening can be a daunting proposition but we're here to help. Click any of the below boxes for more information.

The risk of breast cancer rises as women get older. This is why the breast screening programme targets women in this age group.

Breast Screening can help to find small changes in the breast before there are any other signs or symptoms. Early detection may mean simpler and more successful treatment. The NHS Brea​st Screening Programme is an effective part of the UK's efforts to reduce the death toll from breast cancer. The latest research shows the NHS Breast Screening Programme is now saving over 1400 lives every year in England.

There are however, alternative views about Breast Screening. 

To help them make an informed choice about whether or not to come for breast screening, all eligible women now receive a leaflet, 'Breast Screening-THE FACTS' with their invitation. Leaflets can be found within the further information section. The leaflet explains the benefits and limitations of breast screening.

This initiative is part of the NHS Cancer Plan and follows efforts to make the limitations of screening better understood in the wake of the Bristol Inquiry and Alder Hey. The leaflets also address the need to inform patients about the use of personal information for audit, as advised in General Medical Council guidance as well as tying in with the Data Protection Act, the Human Rights Act and Disability Discrimination Act.

The leaflets have been produced in Braille and on tape in English and translated into 18 languages: Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Somali, Polish, Greek, Ukrainian, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, French, Farsi and Kurdish.

For more information, please click here

To help them make an informed choice about whether or not to come for breast screening, all eligible women now receive a leaflet, 'Breast Screening-THE FACTS' with their invitation. Leaflets can be found within the further information section. The leaflet explains the benefits and limitations of breast screening.

This initiative is part of the NHS Cancer Plan and follows efforts to make the limitations of screening better understood in the wake of the Bristol Inquiry and Alder Hey. The leaflets also address the need to inform patients about the use of personal information for audit, as advised in General Medical Council guidance as well as tying in with the Data Protection Act, the Human Rights Act and Disability Discrimination Act.

The leaflets have been produced in Braille and on tape in English and translated into 18 languages: Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Somali, Polish, Greek, Ukrainian, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, French, Farsi and Kurdish.

It has long been known that the chance of surviving breast cancer improves if the disease is caught early. Large international studies were therefore performed in the 1970s and 1980s to look at the effect of regularly screening a population of women by mammography.

Based on the findings of two of these studies Sir Patrick Forrest concluded in his report to the Government in 1986 that a 30% reduction in breast screening mortality could be achieved through breast screening. Consequently the NHS Breast Screening Programme was established in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Since that time there has been considerable debate about the effectiveness of breast screening. In 2000 an article reviewing the evidence of all the major trials was published in the journal the Lancet called “Is screening for breast cancer with mammography justifiable?” and concluded that screening with mammography is unjustified.

However, this review has been widely criticized for excluding six out of the eight large randomized controlled trials on the basis of minor age imbalances in the groups of women studied. When these age differences are corrected there is still a significant reduction in breast cancer mortality associated with breast screening of 30%. However, there continues to be considerable argument on the exact benefits of breast screening.

The mortality from breast cancer in the UK does indeed seem to be declining (See NHS cancer screening website)​. Although some of this effect will be due to improved surgery, drug treatments and radiotherapy it seem very likely that a substantial portion of this effect is the consequence of screening

The low levels of radiation you are exposed to during medical tests can be measured in units called millisieverts (mSv).

Some examples of different levels of radiation exposure are listed below.

  • a single chest X-ray (0.014 mSv) – equivalent to three days of natural background radiation (read more about the risks of X-rays)
  • a mammogram (0.4 mSv) – the amount of radiation a woman receives during a mammogram of both breasts (a type of X-ray used during breast cancer screening); the benefit of detecting breast cancer at an early stage is likely to outweigh the risk of any problems from the radiation exposure

 

Any x-ray involves radiation but mammograms only require a very low dose. It is about the same as the dose a person receives by flying from London to Australia and back. The risk that such a low dose could cause a cancer is far outweighed by the benefits of early detection of breast cancer. The radiation dose delivered by breast screening x-rays is continually monitored to ensure that it remains as low as possible while still providing a good quality image.

For a discussion of radiation doses in the NHS Breast Screening Programme, see the following reference: The British Journal of Radiology, 78 (2005), 207*218.

Some of the cancerous tumours and conditions which are thought to lead to cancer (e.g. DCIS) that are found by screening grow very slowly and may not cause harm during the woman’s lifetime. Since it is not possible to tell the difference between the harmless and dangerous changes all of them are treated.

For more information on DCIS please visit the cancers screening website or cancer research UK website.

If the X-ray shows something that might be cancer, the woman is recalled for additional investigations. In many cases it turns out that what was seen on the X-ray was benign. Some of these women however, undergo needle biopsies or even small operations to remove breast tissue or lymph nodes before a diagnosis is reached.

Currently all women between 50 years old and their 71st birthday who are registered with a GP are eligible for breast screening and The Breast Screening Service invites women by their GP practice in turn. This is currently according to a 3-year schedule.

Please click the following link to download our Breast Screening schedule for the Liverpool Local Authority area, there is a page for the current and the next two years and your GP practice will be listed on one of the pages.

Liverpool schedule

Sefton and Knowsley schedule

As the list is compiled from current GP records, it is important to make sure your registered details are correct.

The invitation is sent out automatically, so there is no need to phone and make your own appointment. The letter of invitation will include:

  • A leaflet about breast screening
  • A map of the location
  • The date and time of appointment

All women who are registered with a GP will receive their first invitation for a mammogram sometime between their 50th and 53rd birthdays. If you have not received an invitation for breast screening and you are 53 or over please contact The Breast Unit (0151 282 6920/6921 or by email to bscreening@rlbuht.nhs.uk).

The Liverpool Breast Screening programme has started the first phase of the ‘Extended Breast Screening Program’, which will continue to expand gradually over the next few years to include all women between the ages of 47- 73 years. 

Women over 71 are encouraged to make their own appointment by contacting the breast screening service.

Please remember that anyone of any age with concerns about their breasts should contact their GP immediately.

Breast Screening Unit, Alexander Wing, Broadgreen Hospital.

Mobile Screening Units at various sites thoughout the area.

Liverpool area Screening Schedule

Women in the Breast Screening age-group registered with a General Practitioner in the Liverpool area will receive a Breast Screening appointment according to a 3-year schedule. The majority of appointments are for our Breast Screening unit at our new Unit in the Alexander WIng, Broadgreen Hospital, but occasionally an appointment may be for another site so it is important to check the appointment letter carefully.

Please click the following link to download our Breast Screening schedule for the Liverpool Local Authority area, there is a page for the current and the next two years and your GP practice will be listed on one of the pages.

Knowsley and Sefton areas Screening Schedule

Women in the Breast Screening age-group registered with a General Practitioner in the Knowsley or Sefton areas also will receive a Breast Screening appointment according to a 3-year schedule. Appointments will be offered on one of our mobile units on our nearest available site to each GP practice. Appontments for clients who prefer not to are offered at the new Breast Screening Unit in the Alexander Wing, Broadgreen Hospital by arrangement.

If an appointment is not convenient it can be changed by contacting the Breast Screening office by telephone on 0151 282 6920/6921. You can email the Breast Screening Team here

Please click the following link to download our Breast Screening schedule for the Knowsley and Sefton Local Authority areas, again there is a page for the current and next two years and the schedule indicates which site is allocated to each GP practice. For directions to any of the sites listed, see our Where We Screen Page here

Breast Screening Appointment letters

A map showing at which of our sites the appointment is booked together with directions to get there (including Bus routes and stops where applicable) will be included in your appointment letter.

Contact us

If an appointment is not convenient it can be changed by contacting the Breast Screening office by phoning 0151 282 6920 or 0151 282 6921

You can email the Breast Screening Team here

If you have breast implants, you will be able to have a mammogram, but please inform the breast screening unit before attending, in order to get the correctly allocated appointment time required.

For more information on breast screening for women with breast implants please click here.

Please rebook your screening appointment a minimum of three months after giving birth and a minimum of three months after stopping breast feeding.

Please help us to ensure that your appointment is at the most appropriate site for you, as access to our mobile vans is via several steps. We have wheelchair access and are also able to allocate a longer screening appointment time for you at our Static Breast screening Unit in the Alexander Wing of Broadgreen Hospital.

For more breast screening and breast awareness information for ladies with a learning disability:

http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Your-guide-to-breast-screening-video-wall.aspx

Your mammograms are reviewed by two specialised film readers and the results will be sent to your home address within three weeks. Your GP will also be notified of your results.  If you have not heard from us within three weeks please contact us on  0151 282 6920/6921.

Every effort is made to minimise women's anxiety at all stages of screening. Invitation and recall letters are carefully worded and include a contact telephone number for women who have questions. Less than ten per cent of women screened for the first time and less than seven per cent of those screened for a second or subsequent time should be recalled.

Find out more about breast well-being, moving forward and our research:

We are committed to improving cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment through world-class research.

We work closely with colleagues at the University of Liverpool, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in partnership with Cancer research charities to deliver high quality research.

Clinical trials we have been involved with have led to important breakthroughs in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Many of our patients will be offered entry into a clinical trial as part of their treatment.

This may allow early access to new treatments. Evidence shows that patients who enter clinical trials often have a better outcome.

One of the many studies that we are currently recruiting breast cancer patients for is the 100,000 genome project. This national study aims to use genetic information from patients with cancer to develop new techniques for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

For more information about participating in a clinical trial, click here.

Breast cancer is very common and usually cannot be prevented. Many factors that affect our risk of breast cancer (such as getting older) are out of our control and their effect cannot be changed.

However, research shows that some things you can do may reduce your risk of getting breast cancer or improve your chance of survival if you do get breast cancer. These include:

  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Taking regular exercise
  • Reducing your alcohol intake
  • Being breast aware and seeing your doctor early if you notice a breast problem.
  • Eating a healthy diet (avoiding excess sugars, eating regular fruit and vegetables and reducing saturated fats)
  • Stopping smoking

Useful links:

Adapting to life after breast cancer treatment can be difficult.

Patients who have completed their Breast Cancer treatment are offered a moving forward appointment with a specialist breast care nurse.

This appointment is an opportunity to review their treatment and ask any questions.

A summary of your treatment and an information pack are provided.

There may be outstanding issues or concerns which can be addressed.

We can offer advice and support about managing symptoms and side effects of treatment.

  • Patients can be referred on to other services for support such as:
  • Health trainer
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Complementary therapies
  • Support groups

Breast Cancer Care run moving forward workshops for patients.

We offer an open access for patients who have had breast cancer treatment. Any new concerns should be reported to your specialist breast care nurse and they will arrange a clinic appointment for you if necessary.

More information from breast cancer care

How to contact us

  • Breast Outpatients RLH     Tel: 0151 706 2920
  • Screening enquiries          Tel: 0151 282 6920
  • Breast Ward (9Y) at RLH   Tel: 0151 706 2496

Consultant Surgeons

  • Professor Chris Holcombe
  • Miss Geraldine Mitchell
  • Mr Mysore Chandraseker
  • Miss Anne Tansley
  • Miss Emma De Sousa
  • Ms Julia Henderson
  • Associate Specialist
  • Uma Sridharvan
  • Breast Care Nurses
  • Helen Gray
  • Patricia Watkins
  • Patricia Carmichael
  • Jean Fisher
  • Nicola Gilham
  • Ruth Davies
  • Oncologists

  • Dr Susan O’Reilly
  • Dr Farida Alam
  • Prof Carlo Palmieri
  • Dr Nicky Thorp
  • Advanced Nurse Practitioners

  • Sue Holcombe
  • Rebecca Brooks
  • Hilary Downey
  • Radiologists
  • Dr Catherine Beattie
  • Dr Andrew O’Connor
  • Dr Sheetal Sharma
  • Dr Alex Roberts
  • Dr Asha Shivraham
  • Dr Niamh O’Mahony
  • Superintendent Radiographers

  • Sarah Darnley
  • Wendy Thompson (Breast Screening Programme Manager)
  • Ali Guest
  • Moira Anwyl
  • Consultant Radiographer

  • Jane Leadbetter
  • Advanced Practitioners
  • Chris Hiorns
  • Wendy Rees
  • Helen Henwood
  • Michelle Leary
  • Radiographers
  • Julie Armitage
  • Claire Bend-Guthrie
  • Anne Billinge
  • Rachel Bissel
  • Lorraine Blamire
  • Natalie Burke
  • Lisa Campbell
  • Jacqueline Coals
  • Lynn Dooley
  • Lesley Doyle
  • Sheela Edwin
  • Anne Harrison
  • Roni Hellier
  • Sophie Helbert
  • Janet Hignett
  • Julie McBretney
  • Susanna McKillop
  • Amy O’Callaghan
  • Margaret Parisi
  • Rebecca Wheat

Assistant Practitioners

  • Marina Connerty
  • Donna Elder
  • Sue Garland
  • Lucy Stenton
  • Radiographic Aides
  • Megan Austin
  • Anita Davies
  • Alicia Shipperlee
  • May Wong

Our Ward: 9Y ward Royal Liverpool Hospital

Ward manager: Andy Greslow

Preop Team: Julie and Sheila

Related links