Frequently asked questions

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, occurring in about 1 in every 8 women at some time in their life. This is why breast screening is so important.

find out the incidence of breast cancer in different age groups

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

If you know what your breasts normally feel and look like, you will be better placed to spot any changes that could be signs of cancer. To learn what to look out for, please refer to the Breast Awareness page of this website. If you do notice any change in your breast, you should make an appointment to see your GP straight away. You may not have cancer, but if you do, being diagnosed and treated at an early stage may mean that you are more likely to survive the illness.

My mother died of breast cancer. Will I?

Women with a significant history of breast cancer may have an increased chance of developing the disease, but it is important to remember the following points:

The Breast Screening team at Kent & Canterbury Hospital
  • Most women do not develop breast cancer. Of those who do, most will not have a known family history of the disease.
  • For most women, increasing age is the greatest risk factor for developing breast cancer.
  • The majority of women with a family history of breast cancer do not fall into a high-risk category and do not develop breast cancer.
  • The majority of women with a relative with breast cancer are not at substantially greater risk of developing breast cancer themselves.

(data from Macmillan Cancer Support)

Am I eligible for the subsidy?

Yes, every lady from the age of 40 is eligible.

How much will it cost?

£35. Note that a private breast screening will cost you in the region of £200!!

What is a mammogram?

Mammography is low-dose X-Ray of the breast tissue, used to investigate breast disease of various sorts, but in particular in the diagnosis of breast cancer.

What happens during a mammogram?

You will need to undress to the waist. A specialist female radiographer will explain the procedure, and position your breasts between two special plates, and compress them firmly. There are two images of each breast.

Does it hurt?

Most women find it a bit uncomfortable and a few find it painful. However, it only lasts a few seconds and the pressure is harmless. If you are concerned, try taking two paracetamol tablets before leaving home for your appointment.

How long do I have to wait for the results?

Result letters are the responsibility of the NHS and are sent out by them within 3 weeks. A copy is sent to you and your doctor. Should you not have received your letter, please contact your GP in the first instance. If not, please contact us.

In the majority of cases a diagnosis can be made by the initial views taken; however sometimes the Radiologist / Breast Specialist will require further imaging to aid them with their diagnosis.

  • The majority of women recalled for further views then receive a normal result.

For women between the ages of 50 and 70:

  • 96 out of 100 women will have no sign of cancer.
  • 4 in every 100 are asked to return for more tests after screening. These may be more mammograms, an ultrasound scan, or possibly a biopsy, when a small sample is taken from the breast with a needle and examined under a microscope. 1 of these 4 women will be found to have cancer.

Who is sent the results?

You are. If you are recalled for further views, your GP will be informed, and a letter will be sent to you asking you to contact your GP to discuss the reasons.

What happens if the results are positive?

Your GP will be informed, and you will be sent a letter telling you that there is a problem, asking you to contact your GP. He will then refer you through the ‘fast-track’ referral system to your breast surgeon.

Would I have to pay for treatment?

Absolutely not. The NHS will undertake treatment in the normal way.

How do I make an appointment?

Please contact us to book an appointment.

Who can I talk to?

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us.

Does any other charity subsidise breast screenings in the same way?

We know of only one other charity that offers subsidised screenings in the UK — Lady McAdden Breast Screening Unit in Essex.

Can I use EKUBS even if I don't live in the area?

Yes! If you can travel to either of the two hospitals, at Canterbury or Thanet, we can book you in, at the same cost of £35.

Can my friends come with me at the same time?

They can certainly come with you to keep you company. If they wish to be screened too, we can make you all appointments at the same sitting.

Could I have thermography instead of mammography?

Thermography, also called thermal imaging, is a technique used to create a ‘heat map’ of the body, with cancerous areas showing up as hotter than normal areas. It is not reliable enough to be used as a breast screening test, and is not a replacement for mammography.