Judith Clark.jpgOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the NHS is calling on women to attend their breast screening appointment when invited.

All women aged from 50 up to their 71st birthday are invited for free NHS breast screening.

Judy Clark, Breast Imaging Manager at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Breast screening is offered to women in North and West Cumbria from age 50 to their 71st birthday.

“Women over this age of may self-refer for screening every three years if they have no symptoms. If women have any breast symptoms they should contact their GP and they will be referred to the One Stop Breast Clinic.

“Breast screening aims to find breast cancer early, before it is big enough to feel or to cause symptoms. Early detection means things will be easier to treat. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.”

And Judy says women who are worried should see their GP.

She said: “Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but it’s always best to have them checked by a doctor.

“You should see a GP if you notice any of the following:

  • New lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before.
  • A change in size or shape of one or both breasts
  • A discharge of fluid from either of your nipples
  • A lump or swelling in either of your armpits
  • A change in look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness
  • A rash ( like eczema), crusting, scaly or itchy skin or on or around your nipple
  • A change in appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast.

“Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.

Get to know what is normal for you – for instance your breasts may look or feel different at different times of your life. This will make it easier to notice potential problems.”

Earlier this year, NCIC introduced new breast imaging technology - Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography.

The innovative process called Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography is more sensitive in picking up certain cancers than mammograms alone.

The technology uses x-ray to take images much quicker and more clearly, particularly for people who have dense breast tissue such as younger people.

Judy said: “We’re still evaluating the initial outcomes but early indications show the new technology is helping us with diagnosis in the One Stop Clinic - hopefully providing a quicker diagnosis for patients.

“Initial patient experiences show that it is a very tolerable examination in a setting that patients are familiar with.”

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