Early detection and screening
The earlier a breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of successful treatment. By checking your breasts regularly for lumps and other changes, you can improve your chances of finding breast cancer at an early, curable stage. Women in the UK at higher risk of developing breast cancer because of their age or family history are eligible for regular breast screening as part of a national screening programme.
If you’re in your mid-twenties onwards, you should become familiar with how your breasts look and feel at different times. You’ll then know what’s normal for you and will be aware of any changes if they occur. You can read about what to look out for in our section on symptoms.
Our cancer support specialists can give you information about breast awareness, or you can contact Breast Cancer Care.
NHS Breast Screening Programme
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Breast screening is a way of picking up breast cancer at an early stage when it’s too small to be felt or seen. When breast cancer is diagnosed early, treatment is simpler and likely to be more effective.
In the UK, women aged 50–70 are offered mammograms (breast x-rays) every three years as part of the NHS Breast Screening Programme. In England, the age range is gradually being extended to include women aged 47–73.
Our section on breast screening has more information.