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Breast screening and coronavirus (COVID-19)

Breast screening will restart in September/October. We will send you a letter when it is time for you to book your appointment.

Our plan to restart screening will depend on public health advice as the coronavirus restrictions continue to ease.

We will continue to closely review this guidance to make sure conditions remain safe for both you and our staff.

If you would like to contact us, Freephone 1800 45 45 55.

Who we will screen first

We are restarting with people who have waited longest for breast screening. These letters will be sent out during September/October.

After this, we will start to send invitations for routine screening. It will take us some months to catch up since screening was ceased in March.

New physical distancing and infection control measures mean that we will not be able to screen as many women per day. Please bear with us and wait for your letter asking you to rebook your screening test.

If you are aged 50 to 52 and coming for your test for the first time, please check the register here to make sure we have all the details we need to invite you to arrange your test.

Going for your screening

Although your breast screening test will be the same, it may seem a little different when you go to your clinic or mobile unit for your next screening appointment.

Our clinics and mobile units have been working hard to make changes to keep you safe when you go for your appointment.

These changes may include:

  • talking over the phone with BreastCheck staff before your appointment
  • your radiographer or doctor wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • wearing a mask during your appointment
  • waiting outside until it’s time for your appointment
  • fewer people in your healthcare building or mobile unit
  • waiting a little longer for your appointment as the unit must be completely disinfected between each screening test
  • coming into the unit or clinic without a family member with you
  • entering and exiting your clinic through different doors.

Because of this, we are advising you to:

  • make sure you have enough time for parking if driving yourself
  • plan for your test to take a little longer
  • check your transport options for your return home
  • bring warm clothes and a rain jacket if not coming by car
  • bring your own pen to sign any forms required
  • keep in touch with your clinic ahead of your visit and follow their advice
  • be aware that toilet facilities may not be open in some screening locations.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is taking us longer to screen. it is important that you come for your appointment when called. You will receive one BreastCheck appointment letter during this screening round. If you are unable to attend your appointment, please contact us to reschedule your appointment. You will not receive a reminder letter.

Follow up treatment

For people whose screening test result and follow-up tests show they need hospital treatment, hospital clinics are being held.

It may seem a little different when you go to your hospital clinic for your next appointment.

Hospital clinics have been working hard to make changes to keep you safe when you go for your appointment.

These changes may include:

  • Your nurse or doctor wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • waiting outside until it’s time for your appointment
  • fewer people in your healthcare building
  • waiting a little longer for your appointment while the treatment rooms are disinfected.

Your hospital clinic will be in touch with you ahead of your appointment to let you know what to expect when coming to the clinic.

You can contact BreastCheck on Freephone 1800 45 45 55. Ask to speak with one of our lead nurses.

If you are unwell or isolating

We ask that you do not attend your appointment if you are unwell or self-isolating because you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Do not attend either if you or are a confirmed close contact of someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.

Please follow the most recent guidelines on self-isolating after travel abroad when considering if you are able to attend your appointment.

A safe restart

The BreastCheck static units are continuing to help their host hospitals assess and treat women who have symptoms of cancer and prioritising patients with a known high grade or aggressive cancer.

While this is happening, work is underway to remodel all BreastCheck mobile units so that they can provide a safe environment for participants and staff when breast screening restarts.

The restart of screening will depend on the situation not getting worse with COVID-19 and government restrictions continuing to ease.

We will continue to check that the screening system is working well during the restart period, for your safety and the safety of our staff.

If you have symptoms - phone your GP

Contact your GP without delay if you have any symptoms of breast cancer. Never ignore symptoms.

Symptoms of breast cancer can include:

  • a lump in either breast
  • discharge from either of your nipples (which may be streaked with blood)
  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
  • dimpling on the skin of your breasts
  • a rash on or around your nipple
  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Coronavirus symptoms

If you have a new continuous cough and a high temperature, please follow the self-isolation guidance.

Symptoms of coronavirus

page last reviewed: 30/03/2020
next review due: 30/03/2023