Routine Breast Screening

Breast Screening saves about 1 life from breast cancer for every 200 women who are screened. This adds up to approximately 1300 lives saved from breast cancer each year in the UK.

In Northern Ireland all women aged 50-70 years, who are registered with a GP, are automatically invited for breast screening once every three years. The Breast Screening Programme is a rolling programme where all women should receive their first appointment between their 50th and 53rd birthday. Eligible women within the Northern Trust area will be sent an invitation to attend a Mobile Unit for breast screening in one of the 5 locations
listed below; 

Antrim Area Hospital 
Braid Valley Hospital 
Larne Health Centre 
Whiteabbey Hospital 
Mid-Ulster Hospital

In 2014 the Northern Trust took delivery of two new state of the art Digital Mobile Breast Screening Units. Digital units allow mammograms to be viewed instantly by the radiographer and also permit women with breast implants to be screened at their nearest mobile location.

Please contact the Breast Screening Centre at Antrim Hospital on 028 9442 4425 if;

  • you have a physical disability or have difficulty climbing steps and we can arrange a longer appointment time for you. The mobile units have a lift system which will enable women who have difficulty with stairs or are wheelchairs users to attend for screening.
  • you have had a mammogram within the last 6 months, are pregnant or breastfeeding, as you may be advised to delay breast screening.
  • you are the carer of a woman with special needs who has been invited for screening
  • you require an interpreter

If you are over 70, you are still at risk of breast cancer. Although you will no longer automatically get screening invitations after you are 70, you can still have breast screening every 3 years by contacting the Breast Screening Centre at Antrim Hospital on 02894 424425

Breast Screening Timetable 

Mobile 4
February 2018, Braid Valley Hospital, Ballymena
March 2018, Braid Valley Hospital, Ballymena
July 2019, Mid-Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt

Mobile 5
January 2019, Whiteabbey Hospital, Newtownabbey

Breast Screening Results
Breast screening results are sent to both the woman and her GP within 2 weeks.

In about 96 out of every 100 women screened the mammogram will show no sign of cancer - this is a normal result. If you have a normal result you will automatically be invited to come back again in three years.

Around 4 women in 100 will be asked to have further tests. Women requiring further tests and investigations following breast screening will be recalled to an Assessment Clinic at the Breast Screening Centre in Antrim Area Hospital. At this clinic women will have a breast examination, further imaging/ultrasound examination and in some cases a biopsy may be performed. You will usually get your results within a week.

Out of these 4 women 1 will be found to have cancer. The rest will not have cancer and will automatically be invited to come back again in three years.

A Breast Care Nurse is available for support and further advice. Breast Care Nurses can be contacted on 028 9442 4874 or 028 9442 4047 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.

Women who develop a breast symptom between their screening appointments should contact their GP as soon as possible. They may refer you to a ‘One stop’ Symptomatic Clinic in Antrim Hospital.

Further information and useful websites
The Northern Trust believes that every eligible woman should be enabled to make an informed choice about attending for Breast Screening. The links below contain more information regarding the benefits and limitations of breast screening including the findings of the recent Review into Breast Screening:

Northern Ireland Breast Screening Programmes www.cancerscreening.hscni.net                  
NI Breast Screening leaflets www.cancerscreening.hscni.net/Breast_Leaflets.htm
Be Cancer Aware www.becanceraware.info/breast-cancer  
Northern Trust Cancer Services Website www.nhsctcancerservices.hscni.net    
NHS Breast Screening Programmes www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/breastscreen  
Cancer Research UK www.cruk.org/cancer-info  
Public Health Agency www.publichealth.hscni.net  
Breast Cancer Care www.breastcancercare.org.uk  
Northern Ireland Cancer Registry www.qub.ac.uk/nicr  
Breakthrough Breast Cancer www.Breakthrough.org.uk

The Northern Ireland Breast Screening Programme have issued a DVD “What Happens at Breast Screening?” found at http://www.cancerscreening.hscni.net/2170.htm

Page last updated:10 January 2018