Our service

Our highly subsidised service enables women over 40 to be screened for breast cancer earlier and more frequently than they would under the NHS programme.

Costing just £35, mammograms are carried out at two hospitals in East Kent — the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, Margate and the Kent & Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury.

Why do I need this service?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. At the moment, 1 in every 8 women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. The risk rises with age, rising steadily after the menopause. This explains why breast cancer screening is important.

Breast screening is a method of detecting breast cancer at a very early stage. The first step involves an x-ray of each breast – a mammogram – which is taken while carefully compressing the breast. Most women find this a bit uncomfortable and a few find it painful. The mammogram can detect small changes in breast tissue which may indicate cancers that are too small to be felt either by the woman herself or by a doctor.

It is therefore important to seek advice from your doctor if you do suspect any abnormality in the breast, even if your mammogram was reported as being normal. If you have not had a mammogram, but do think there is something wrong, please just go straight to your GP.

What does the NHS provide?

The NHS Breast Screening Programme provides free breast screening every three years for all women aged 50 and over. Because the programme is a rolling one which invites women from GP practices in turn, not every woman receives an invitation as soon as she is 50. However, she will receive her first invitation before her 53rd birthday.

Once women reach the upper age limit for routine breast screening, they are encouraged to make their own appointment, but will have to do this every three years themselves thereafter. If you book with us we will remind you ourselves every two years, not three.

There is now a randomised call-up of ½ of the women in the 47-49 year group. This is part of a research study to evaluate the benefits and risks of screening in this age group.

Many other countries also have a National breast screening service. A survey of 26 countries showed that all other countries screen every 1-2 years, some from 40 years of age.

For more information see: NHS breast screening: Helping women decide.

Is the NHS screening programme sufficient for my needs?

Below the age of 40, the risk of breast cancer is much less, and screening is less accurate because breasts are more dense and smaller abnormalities are more difficult to see. For this reason, regular breast screening is not recommended in this age group.

Women from 40 to 47 years may feel that since they are not offered screening by the NHS, they are not at risk. This is not true. Research shows that women of this age group, although they are less likely to develop this disease, are still at risk and should be screened. However, an abnormality diagnosed in this age group is more likely to be non-cancerous.

Women above 47: It is recognised that a number of so-called ‘interval cancers’ are discovered between screenings, and an interval of 1½ to 2 yrs is recommended in other countries. Some women from 47-50 are now being called as part of a randomised trial on a 3-yearly basis. Those who are not called can either self-refer to the NHS Breast Screening Programme or arrange screening via EKUBS.

Women above 73: The incidence of breast cancer rises with age, but screening can be continued via EKUBS. The NHS breast screening programme will continue to screen women free every 3 yrs, but only if they self-refer each time. EKUBS will remind you to make an appointment every 2 years.

The NHS has recently changed our protocols and we have to request permission to screen you. We will contact you as soon as we have received a reply. We are not allowed to do 1 year mammograms, or to screen ladies who have any symptoms.

Our protocol

The frequency of screenings allowed are as follows:

Please see the following chart for more detail:

When you can request an EKUBS mammogram

               
Under 40...



NOT eligible
Aged 40-50... Aged 50-70...
Will be invited every 3yrs by the NHSBSP, but can still book in between these screenings with EKUBS. Check with NHSBSP before booking with EKUBS.
Aged 70+...
May self refer for NHSBSP as before
OR
have 2 yearly EKUBS screenings as below.
          Last mammogram
< 2yrs ago...

NOT eligible
    Last mammogram
< 18 months ago or
> 24 months ago...
NOT eligible
    Last mammogram
< 2yrs ago...

NOT eligible
           
    Last mammogram
> 2yrs ago...

ELIGIBLE
    Last mammogram
within last
18-24 months...
ELIGIBLE
    Last mammogram
> 2yrs ago...

ELIGIBLE
           

Exceptions

  • Women aged 47-50 who have had their first NHS mammogram may have an EKUBS mammogram within 18-24 months.
  • Women who have historically had 2 yearly screening with EKUBS and no NHS screening may continue to just have 2 yearly EKUBS mammograms.

What is the incidence of breast cancer?

The incidence of breast cancer rises steeply with age. In 2012, estimated risk figures for the UK from Cancer Research UK were:

  • Up to 29: 1 in 2,000
  • Up to 39: 1 in 215
  • Up to 49: 1 In 50
  • Up to 59: 1 in 22
  • Up to 69: 1 in 13
  • Up to 79: 1 in 11
  • Up to 85: 1 in 10
  • LIFETIME RISK: 1 in 8

What are the risks of screening?

Radiation exposure: Mammograms require very small doses of radiation. The risk of harm from this exposure is extremely low, particularly since we now take digital mammograms in the two hospitals, but repeated x-rays have the potential to cause cancer. The benefits of mammography, however, nearly always outweigh the potential harm from the radiation exposure. Nevertheless, women should talk with the screening staff about the need for each x-ray. In addition, they should always let the radiographer (the member of staff who takes the x-ray) know if there is any possibility that they are pregnant, because radiation can harm a growing foetus.

Will I be reminded when my next mammogram is due?

Yes, we will remind you. It is important therefore that you inform us whenever you change your address.

Still have questions? Try our FAQs page