All women of screening age who are registered with a GP will get a letter inviting them for breast screening.
When you get your invitation, you will be given a date and time to go to a local breast screening unit. There are screening units throughout the UK. These can be in a hospital or in a mobile unit (a large van). If the appointment time does not suit you, you can phone the breast screening unit to ask for another time. The contact number will be on the letter.
You will get a leaflet with your letter that explains what will happen at your appointment. You can ask for this information to be translated or sent to you in large print, audio or British Sign Language (BSL).
You can contact the screening unit if you are finding it difficult to decide whether to have breast screening. Staff at the unit can answer any questions you have, or give you more information to help you decide. You can also talk to your GP or our cancer support specialists on 0808 808 00 00.
If you decide not to go for screening, let the unit know by letter or telephone. They can offer your appointment to someone else. If you change your mind, you can make a new appointment by contacting the unit. Even if you do not go, you will still be invited for screening again in three years if you are under the age of 70.
If you do not want to be invited again, ask the screening centre or your GP to remove your name from the system. You can be added back on if you change your mind.
If you need an interpreter
If you need an interpreter at your appointment, you should contact your screening unit before you go to arrange this. Some units will allow a female family member or friend to translate information for you. But others prefer that you use an interpreter.
If you have breast implants
You will still be invited to screening if you have implants because you still have breast tissue around the implant. You should tell your breast screening unit about your implants when you get your invitation. Your appointment may take about five minutes longer compared to having a mammogram without an implant.
You will need to have your screening at a unit where your mammograms can be looked at immediately. The staff will want to check that the images show as much of your breast tissue as possible.
The pressure applied to your breasts during the screening is unlikely to damage your implants. Mammograms for breast screening do not check your implants. If you think that there is a problem with them, let your GP know.
If you have been treated for breast cancer
You will still be invited for screening if you have been treated for breast cancer. If you are still having follow-up mammograms at the hospital where you were treated, you do not need to go for screening. But let the screening unit know if you are not going to the appointment. If you are no longer having regular mammograms at your treating hospital, you should go for screening when invited.