Breast cancer screening in County Durham

Our report looks at the uptake of breast cancer screening and the experiences of women in County Durham

In County Durham the uptake of breast screening percentage is higher than the average for England and the north-east region, however 22% of women invited to take part in 2016 (Health and Social Care Information Centre (Open Exeter) Public Health England) did not attend. To increase the number of women attending we want to understand why some people do not access the service and if there is anything we can do to overcome the barriers. This survey was aligned with Breast Cancer awareness month to capture the views of some women in the county.

Our Recommendations

  • If it does not already happen, ask women to confirm that they will be attending the appointment, this may reduce the number of DNA’s and also simplify the process for making an alternative appointment
  • The process for making an alternative appointment needs to be simple with checks incorporated to ensure new appointments are sent out to patients
  • When inviting first time patients for screening, information should be provided on what to expect. This could include comments from users of the service, offering some reassurance
  • Radiographers and support staff need to understand the anxiety and discomfort the procedure can cause for some women, therefore making sure they offer support, empathy and a friendly encouraging approach
  • Commissioners of the service need to ensure it is an accessible service for all eligible women, including women with disabilities
  • There generally seems to be some confusion about the age ranges for invitation to attend and the service providers should ensure women reaching the age of 70 are given information about being eligible to self-refer directly to a local breast screening unit once they stop getting automatic invitations to attend


If you need this information in a different format please contact us:

0800 304 7039

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