One simple trick to living longer - breast screening

Date: 11 July 2017

One simple trick to living longer - breast screening

We all want to live long, healthy lives. A good diet, regular exercise and not smoking are big parts of that, although they’re often a challenge to many of us. But if there was one simple thing that you could do to help protect your health, which only took a few minutes of your time and could help protect you from developing a serious health condition then you’d do it, wouldn’t you?

Breast screening is one such intervention that can help save lives. In the UK, one in eight women will end up having breast cancer. The stage when the breast cancer can be diagnosed is a single most important factor in survival rates. Here at Medway our breast screening service is helping to save lives. Women between 47 and 73 years are invited every three years for breast screening. Breast screening unit at Medway screens 100,000 women every three years. The unit has been substantially turned around over the last 12 months to become a truly high- performing unit.

Dr Rupika Mehta, the Director of the unit, explains: “We aim to find breast cancers early when they have the best chance of being cured. Screening can help to find cancers early when they are too small to see or feel. Nine out of 10 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage survive.

“One of my first priorities after becoming breast screening director was to speed up the screening process, that means making sure that we see women earlier, get their results turned around more quickly and arranging follow up as soon as we can.

“At present, nearly 100 percent of women attending breast screening get their results in two weeks’ time, of those who require further assessment 98 percent are seen within three weeks. This is a big service improvement and is helping to reduce anxiety and improving the client journey. I am lucky to have a hardworking, highly motivated and dedicated team.”

After years of challenged performance, the unit has been meeting and exceeding national standards, comparing strongly to other screening teams across the south of England. Women using the service can be confident of receiving high quality and responsive care.

There is, however, one target we still need to meet – getting women through the door for their screening. We need to increase the uptake of this screening programme.

“Making sure that women take the first step in protecting themselves is still a challenge” says Dr Mehta. “Too many women are receiving these letters but are not taking action and not coming in to see us. I understand that it may be daunting or worrying to come in for a screening, and that they may just not want to acknowledge that they are at risk – but taking that first step is one of the most important things they can do for their health.

“If anyone reading this article gets a letter inviting them for a scan, I urge them – please get in touch. You will be well looked after by a team who are entirely focused on your wellbeing. It could save your life.”

  • Summary:

    Here at Medway our breast screening service is helping to save lives. Women between 47 and 73 years are invited every three years for breast screening. Breast screening unit at Medway screens 100,000 women every three years. The unit has been substantially turned around over the last 12 months to become a truly high- performing unit.