Breast screening begins return to normal service
02 July 2020
As hospitals start to look at ways of restarting their normal services, routine breast screening made a return at Southend Hospital on Monday 29 June.
Although high risk patients were still being screened at the
height of Covid, normal breast screening had been paused so
radiographers at the hospital could support critical inpatient
services. But now, normal services are beginning to slowly resume
and patients are being welcomed back.
The breast screening unit, based in the Nightingale Centre, have
started sending invitations and reminders again to people eligible
for screening. This will start initially with invitations and
reminders for people who were cancelled due to Covid, then moving
to those who are overdue a scan.
Clare Rogers, Programme Manager for South Essex Breast Screening
for Mid and South Essex University Foundation Trust, of which
Southend Hospital is a part, said: "It's important to remember that
screening is for healthy people who have no symptoms at all. The
aim of this service is to detect breast cancer at an early stage,
often before any symptoms have been noted, so that treatment may
therefore be simpler, more effective and gives a better chance of
It's estimated that such screening saves about one life from
breast cancer for every 200 women who are screened, which adds up
to around 1,300 lives saved from breast cancer each year in the
Approximately one in eight women in the UK will be diagnosed
with breast cancer in their lifetime, one of those who was is Karen
Scott, 59, from Billericay.
At her first screening in 2012, everything was clear, and she
didn't need to return until 2015. Karen said: "I had no symptoms or
reason to think anything abnormal would show but was called back
two weeks later for another mammogram and biopsy. The
mammogram showed a 6cm lump.
"I had a mastectomy at Broomfield, which was a really positive
experience and everyone involved was very helpful and supportive. I
now have an annual mammogram and my advice to anyone unsure of
going to their screening is make time for it. I did and it
potentially saved my life."
It is now hoped that mobile breast screening will see a return
to Grays, Southend and Canvey Island sometime in late July.
Once screening programmes are back up and running, people should
start receiving invitations again. But it may take longer than
usual before you are invited.
Clare said: "It may take longer for patients to receive their
invitation for breast screening due to the number of patients we
need to catch up on, but if anyone is worried that they may have
any breast cancer symptoms they should not wait and, contact their
GP without delay."
Image: l-rClare Rogers and Dr Asha Eleti, consultant radiologist
and director of breast screening, next to a mammogram