More Norfolk women offered breast screening

Women in Norfolk will receive an invitation to breast screening when they are younger, after the programme extended its age range.

The national breast screening programme has been extended to include, for the first time, women from the age of 47 and up to the age of 73.

Until December 31 2010, only women aged between 50 and 70 were routinely invited for breast screening, with women over 70 able to refer themselves.

In practical terms, in Norfolk women have received their first invitation for breast screening in the year in which they become 51. Now they will enter the programme between the ages of 47 and 50 and will receive a first invitation by the age of 50.

NHS Norfolk's screening programmes lead Fiona Kelly said: 'This is excellent news for women.

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'The NHS will now begin to invite the new cohort of women for screening. There is a rolling programme of invitations over the next three years so people do not need to do anything right now. The time for action is when they receive the invitation - at that point we strongly urge individuals to respond and go to a screening session.'

One-in-nine women will develop breast cancer at some time in their life. But breast screening can help to find small changes in body tissue before there are any other signs or symptoms.

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Despite the fact that screening is free on the NHS - and that screening can save lives - one in five women in Norfolk are still failing to respond to invitations for screening.

There are three hospitals in Norfolk where breast screening is carried out a fleet of six mobile screening units.

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