Screening involves having a mammogram of your breasts. A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. It is used to find breast cancer when it's too small to see or feel.
After your first mammogram, you'll be offered an appointment every 2 years until you're 69 years of age.
See a GP right away if you notice any changes in your breasts between appointments. Do not wait until your next screening appointment.
Before your appointment
We will send you a letter inviting you to join the BreastCheck programme. You do not have to reply to the letter.
We'll send you a separate appointment letter after this, usually within a month.
You should contact us before your appointment if you:
- have breast implants - you’ll still be able to have a mammogram
- had a mammogram recently
- are breastfeeding or pregnant - you may need to delay screening
Your appointment location
Your appointment will be at a breast screening unit in your area.
The appointment letter will say where you need to go. Contact details will be in this letter.
Change your appointment
Call the breast screening unit if you need a new appointment. The contact details are in your appointment letter.
Try to give as much notice as possible if you cannot go to your appointment. We can then offer your appointment to someone else.
During your appointment
Your breast screening appointment should last around 30 minutes. You'll need to sign a consent form if it's your first appointment.
Your breast x-ray will be done by a radiographer. They will explain what will happen and ask you a few simple questions.
You'll have to undress for the x-ray to be naked from the waist up. It may be easier to wear a top with a skirt or trousers. All screening units will give you privacy while you undress.
The radiographer will place your breast onto the x-ray machine. Then they will lower a clear piece of plastic onto your breast. This plastic paddle helps to spread the breast tissue and take a better x-ray. It may feel uncomfortable or painful for a few seconds while your breast is compressed.
The radiographer will take 2 x-rays of each breast at different angles.
During the x-ray, your breasts are exposed to a very small amount of radiation. But this amount causes no significant risk to your health.
You'll need to wear a face mask during your appointment.
People who need more support
If you have a disability or need support for a breast screen, we can help.
Call the phone number on the invitation letter or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for support.