Breast screening invitations go out

NEARLY 14,000 women in the Clacton area are being invited for routine breast screening during a 12-month programme starting today.

Women from the town and surrounding area will be invited for a mammogram, which is a breast x-ray, in a mobile screening unit – known as “Bertha” – run by the Chelmsford and Colchester NHS Breast Screening Service.

Invitations will be sent out about two weeks in advance of appointments as part of the NHS Breast Screening Programme although they can be changed easily if the time or location is inconvenient.

Anne Pugh, breast screening nurse from the service, said they wanted to make it as easy as possible for women to be checked.

She said: “It can help to find small changes in the breast before there are any other signs or symptoms, so we advise women to take up their invitation for a mammogram.

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“The idea of our mobile units is to provide routine breast screening as near to where women live as possible.”

The screening service is run by both the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust and Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trusts.

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It delivers breast screening for women at the Chelmsford and Essex Centre, Chelmsford, Essex County Hospital and also from two mobile screening units which move around the area.

The NHS Breast Screening Programme, which was set up in 1988, provides free breast screening every three years for all women in the UK aged 50 to 70.

Because the programme is a rolling one which invites women from GP practices in turn, not every woman will receive an invitation as soon as she is 50.

However, every woman is guaranteed to receive her first invitation before her 53rd birthday.

Bertha will be parked in the car park on Freeland Road at the back of Clacton Hospital.

Anyone wanting more information about breast screening for women in the Clacton area is asked to phone Anne Pugh, breast screening nurse, on 01206 744645.

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