Make breast screening part of your health routine

WOMEN are being urged to see breast screening as part of their normal health care routine.

All women between 50 and 70 are invited to come along for screening once every three years as part of the Scottish Breast Screening Programme.

Medical experts fear that some women are being put off attending because they’d rather not know whether or not they may have breast cancer – despite the fact that early detection increases the chances of recovery and can limit the extent of treatment required.

Dr Sue Payne, breast screening co-ordinator in Lothian, encourages women to attend.

She said:


“Some women tell us they’d rather not know, there’s this assumption that if they come forward for screening, then there’s a really high chance they’ll actually have something to worry about. While we detect cancer in women early through breast screening, the numbers involved, compared to the numbers of women who attend for screening, are small.”


She added:
“The majority of women we see do not have cancer. But screening does make a significant difference to those where we do find cause for concern. Early detection is absolutely vital in terms of minimising the kinds of treatment that might be required to deal with the problem.”
Shannon Malkiewicz, a 31 year-old payroll administrator from Leith, Edinburgh, is screened every year on a special early screening programme for women with a family history of the cancer. She said:
“The peace of mind I get from screening is brilliant. I was a bit daunted at first but I know being screened is the right thing to do to keep me safe. To me, it’s no different from checking the road before I cross to ensure I don’t get knocked down by a bus.”
She would encourage any woman to take up their appointments. “It doesn’t take long and for me, it’s only half an hour once a year and the time out is worth it when you get the reassurance of knowing you’ve been professionally checked.”
Breast screening in Lothian is conducted through the screening centre, Ardmillan House in Edinburgh’s Gorgie area, or through mobile units which travel throughout Lothian to convenient locations such as supermarket car parks.
NHS Lothian will be holding a number of events throughout October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to demystify the process of breast screening. These include an open afternoon on 31 October at the unit at Ardmillan House and the launch of a special DVD, jointly-produced with NHS Fife for use with women with a learning disability.
If you are aged 50+ or if you have recently been invited as part of the Scottish breast screening programme but did not attend, please telephone 537-7400 for an appointment.