October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and women in the Midlands are being encouraged to attend for their regular breast screening appointment if they are contacted by screening services.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) has had a major impact on the NHS, including on breast screening services and, as a result, women may have waited longer than they usually do to be invited for regular screening. Now that services are getting up and running again, they can feel reassured by the safety measures that have been put in place.
Breast screening aims to find cancers early using an x-ray test called a mammogram. This can spot cancers when they are too small to see or feel. To protect everyone against the possible spread of Covid-19, screening providers will ensure that social distancing can be observed, and additional infection control procedures have been introduced. This includes the wearing of personal protective equipment by staff such as face masks and gloves.
Enhanced infection control measures mean that appointments may be held at a clinic different to the usual venue and these may take longer than usual. Women are also being asked to wear a face covering at their appointment, unless there is a reason that they cannot do so.
Dr Ash Banerjee, Screening and Immunisations Lead for NHS England and Improvement in the Midlands says:
“Measures are in place to ensure that essential, routine screening can be delivered safely. About one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, so it’s important to attend for routine screening when this is offered.
“As long as you or any member of your household are not displaying symptoms of coronavirus and are not self-isolating, breast screening should take place as normal.
“Please attend for your screening appointment if you are contacted by a breast screening provider and informed that you are due for your routine screen.”
About routine breast screening:
After screening, about 1 in 25 women will be called back for further assessment. Being called back does not mean that someone has cancer. The first mammogram may have been unclear. About 1 in 4 women who are called back for further assessment are diagnosed with breast cancer.
As the likelihood of getting breast cancer increases with age, all women aged from 50 to their 71st birthday who are registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast screening every 3 years. Women may be eligible for breast screening before the age of 50 if they have a very high risk of developing breast cancer.
Anyone worried about breast cancer symptoms should speak to their GP as soon as possible.
Please note we have made a number of GP Telephone consultations available to book via online access, whilst these have time slots allocated to them (ie 8:00, 8:10, etc) this is not indicative of the time you will be called. Instead if you book a morning slot, you will be called anytime that morning, likewise if you book an afternoon slot, you will be called anytime that afternoon.
As you find yourself recovering from COVID-19 you may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both your body and mind.
These changes should get better over time, some may take longer than others, but there are things you can do to help.
Your COVID Recovery helps you to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery. Find out more information at www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk
We are continuing to open and offer our service as normal with the following exceptions:
Find out about the main symptoms of coronavirus and what to do if you have them.
Advice about staying at home (self-isolation) and treatment for you and anyone you live with.
Information about testing for coronavirus and what to do if you’re contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service.
Advice for people at higher risk from coronavirus, including older people, people with health conditions and pregnant women.
Advice about avoiding close contact with other people (social distancing), looking after your wellbeing and using the NHS and other services during coronavirus.
Government information and advice
10 top tips to help if you are worried about Coronavirus
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