The King's Lynn Breast Screening Service (KLBSS)
The KLBSS is part of the NHS National Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP) and provides a free breast screening service for well women aged between 50 and 70 and 11 months. This service is available to the women of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Our aim is to provide and promote an efficient and effective, high quality breast screening service, to all eligible women within a caring environment.
Breast screening is available and performed at The West Norfolk Breast Care Unit within The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, and on our Mobile Screening Unit, in the community.
In November 2018 we had Hologic 3Dimensions mammography equipment installed. We have three machines, two in the hospital and one on our mobile unit. This equipment was chosen because it is designed to provide higher quality 3D images (Tomosynthesis), and gives a more comfortable mammography experience to patients. Although tomosynthesis technology is not currently used as a screening tool, it is used within Assessment clinics.
Our mobile unit houses one Hologic 3Dimensions machine, 3 cubicles, a
Reception desk and waiting area.
Our Mobile Breast Screening Unit
Breast screening is available at The West Norfolk Breast Care Unit and on our Mobile Screening Unit. Our mobile unit visits five areas which include:
- Wisbech (Tesco supermarket)
- Downham Market (Morrisons supermarket)
- Swaffham (Waitrose supermarket)
- King's Lynn (Tesco - Gaywood supermarket)
- Hunstanton (Tesco supermarket)
Breast screening aims to find breast cancer at an early stage, often before there are any symptoms. To do this a mammogram, (a two view x-ray of each breast) is taken. Early detection may often mean simpler and more successful treatment.
The NHSBSP saves approximately 1,400 lives each year in England. For every 500 women screened, 1 life will be saved.
The King’s Lynn Breast Screening Service invites approximately 1,550 women per month for screening (18,500 annually). On a yearly basis, our GP practices will be contacted and all women between the ages of 50 and 70 and 11 months, who are due their three yearly mammogram, will be routinely invited. Women over 70 and 11 months will not be sent an invitation and are encouraged to call the unit on 01553 613662 every three years to make an appointment, as research has shown that breast cancer increases with age.
When you receive your invitation letter you will see that we have already allocated you a specific screening location, appointment date and time. Each appointment is booked within a 5-6 minute time slot. If you find this appointment inconvenient then please contact our Breast Screening Office on 01553 613662 so we can arrange an alternative location, date or time.
Please phone the Breast Screening Office with your screening number (on letter) on 01553 613662 if:
- You do not wish to, or are unable to attend
- You have had a mammogram in the last 6 months
- You would have difficulty climbing steep steps and/or standing unaided for your mammogram
- You are ill on the day of your appointment (infection control)
What is Breast Screening?
Breast Screening (Mammography) is an x-ray examination of the breasts and is a method of finding breast cancer at a very early stage.
At your screening appointment a female mammographer will explain breast screening to you and ask you a few questions. She will then take the x-ray by compressing your breasts, one at a time between two special x-ray plates. The compression only lasts a few seconds and there is no evidence this harms the breast. Compression is needed to keep the breast still, in order to get the clearest picture with the lowest amount of radiation.
Some women find mammography uncomfortable and some find it painful as the breasts have to be held firmly in position and pressed to take a good x-ray. If you do experience pain it usually only lasts as long as the mammogram although it may continue for some time in a small number of women.
Why we screen
One in eight women will develop breast cancer at some time in their life. 80% of breast cancers occur in women over 50. This is why the breast screening programme targets women in this age group.
Breast Screening can help to find small changes in the breast before there are any other signs or symptoms. Early detection may mean simpler and more successful treatment.
The NHS Breast Screening Programme is an effective part of the UK's efforts to improve survival from breast cancer. The latest research shows the NHS Breast Screening Programme is now saving 1400 lives every year.
All women aged between 50 and 70 years and 11 months who are registered with a GP are eligible for screening. A list is compiled from GP records, so it is important to make sure your details are correct.
The invitation is sent out automatically and all women will receive their first
invitation for a mammogram sometime between their 50th and 53rd birthdays.
We invite each GP practice for screening in turn, so women will not necessarily get their invitation in the year that they turn 50. As long as you are registered with a GP, you will receive an invitation before your 53rd birthday.
Women over 70 and 11 months
Women over 70 and 11 months are encouraged to make their own appointment by contacting us on 01553 613662.
Please remember that anyone of any age with concerns about their breasts should contact their GP immediately.
Screening for Women with Special Needs
Women who have special needs, such as a physical or learning disability, are asked to contact the Breast Screening Unit on 01553 613662. The unit will arrange an appointment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where there is easier wheelchair access and better provision for supporters and carers. At the hospital we can allow more time for your appointment and have more staff and mechanical aids available.
Our quick move mechanical aid
Age Extension National Pilot (47-49 years and 71 - 73 years)
The Government's plans to run a national pilot to extend the Breast Screening Programme to women aged 47-49 years and 71-73 years, will take place over two consecutive three-year screening rounds. The aim of the pilot is to explore the benefits of women receiving two extra screening invitations in their lifetime and for women to receive their first screening invitation by their 50th birthday.
King's Lynn Breast Screening Service is not part of this trial.
Your mammograms are reviewed and the results will be sent to you within two weeks. Your GP will also be notified of your results.
We appreciate that it may be worrying to be invited for a further appointment but please remember that the majority of women (4 out of every 5) that come back to assessment clinic are found to have a normal result.
In most cases, the doctor will be able to give you an indication of the expected results at this visit. If a needle biopsy is taken, the results usually take one week to complete and an appointment will be made for you to come back, before you leave.
To find out about the 3 possible types of results click here.