South West London Breast Screening Programme
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Why we screen

Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow in an uncontrolled way. They may then form a lump. As the cancer grows, cells can spread to other parts of the body and this can be life threatening.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. One in eight women will develop breast cancer at some time in their life. The risk of breast cancer increases as women get older; 80% of breast cancers occur in women over 50. This is why the breast screening programme only targets women in this age group. Most women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

The aim of the NHS Breast Screening Programme is to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the UK. However, there are alternative views about Breast Screening. It is your choice whether or not you have breast screening. To help you decide, here is some information on the possible risks and benefits.


Breast screening saves lives. Lives are saved because cancers are diagnosed and treated earlier than they would have been without screening. Screening saves about 1 life from breast cancer for every 200 women who are screened. This adds up to about 1,300 lives saved every year.

Breast Screening can help to find small changes in the breast before there are any other signs or symptoms. Early detection may mean simpler and more successful treatment.

Screening may find breast cancers that would never have caused a woman harm.Some women will be diagnosed and treated for breast cancer that would never otherwise have been found and would not have become life threatening. This is the main risk of screening. Doctors cannot always tell whether a breast cancer that is diagnosed will go on to become life threatening or not, so they offer treatment to all women with breast cancer. This means that some women will offered treatment that they may not have needed.

Most women who receive an abnormal screening result are found not to have breast cancer. These women may experience unnecessary worry and distress.

X-rays can very rarely cause cancer.Having mammograms every 3 years for 20 years very slightly increases the chance of getting cancer over a woman's lifetime.

Rarely, breast screening can miss cancers. It picks up most cancers, but misses breast cancer in about 1 in 2,500 women screened.


The Rose Centre

What is a Mammography

The Rose Centre opened in 2011. This modern facility provides Breast Screening for women local to St.Georges Hospital. The centre is also a diagnostic centre for all women screened in South West London. Having been formerly based at the Duchess of Kent Unit for many years it was a welcome move to this site.

Step-by-Step Guide

step by step guide

Understand what's involved in having a breast x-ray (mammogram).

Download the guide (multilingual)

About Breast Screening

What is a Mammography

Breast Screening (Mammography) is an x-ray examination of the breasts and is a method of finding breast cancer at a very early stage.

Learn more about screening

Where We Screen

We screen at various convenient places across South West London.

Find out where we screen

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