Gransnet forums

Breast screening

(44 Posts)
Lisagran Fri 01-Feb-19 16:49:06

I had a routine letter and information leaflet today inviting me for a breast screening. Up to now (I am 70) I have always attended these screenings, but today I have been wondering whether to go or not. I gather out of 100 women screened, 4 women need more tests and then 1 woman is diagnosed with cancer. The leaflet says Breast screening could mean that I am diagnosed and treated for a cancer that would never have become life-threatening
I realise it’s an individual choice; I’m just pondering

Nonnie Fri 01-Feb-19 16:53:45

It is probably the last one you will be called for, I think they stop offering it to older women. I believe these mammograms do find undetected cancers so I would go. By further tests they may just mean a recall, I've had one of those but there was nothing found and I think it just wasn't done properly

Lisagran Fri 01-Feb-19 16:57:02

I appear to be invited to be part of an AgeX trial Nonnie - a ttual if extending the age range for breast screening to include some women under 50 or over 70

Lisagran Fri 01-Feb-19 16:57:31

trial of

tanith Fri 01-Feb-19 16:58:14

Do go along just for peace of mind. I’m also 70 and would be due this year in June but I won’t be called. I’ve already phoned them to ask if I can still have one which they are happy to do, I just have to ring for an app nearer the time.

It rather feels like no one cares if you get breast cancer later in life as they stop at 70, I’d rather know than not.

MacCavity2 Fri 01-Feb-19 17:03:09

Anything the NHS offer I always attend. Jabs, smears, breast screening etc., hate them all but would grit my teeth and get it done. So reassuring to get the letter saying all is well.

DoraMarr Fri 01-Feb-19 17:11:07

Do go. I am 69 and had a mammogram last autumn. Stage 0 cells ( DCIS) were found in one breast, I had a lumpectomy and am just finishing radiotherapy. You never know how at risk you are of developing invasive cancer, in later life cancers tend to grow more slowly, but the risk outweighs the inconvenience and mild discomfort of the treatment. I may get breast cancer again, but at least I know I have been given the best treatment to prevent that happening. If I’d decided against it and got an invasive tumour I would find that decision difficult to bear. All the best!

Elegran Fri 01-Feb-19 17:11:41

diagnosed and treated for a cancer that would never have become life-threatening but how can you tell which will not be life-threatening until it has been investigated?

It is like taking out insurance against your house being destroyed by fire or other disaster - if you could foresee in advance whether it is going to happen, you could save a fortune. However, by assuming that you will never need that insurance, you could end up with no home. Or with cancer tests, no life.

Lisagran Fri 01-Feb-19 17:20:50

But are there problems associated with having treatment for non life-threatening cancers?

DoraMarr Fri 01-Feb-19 17:32:15

My cancer was non- life threatening, but with the potential to spread. I had a fairly minor operation- there is always a risk.. I have had radiotherapy- again, a risk. However, the risks are negligible compared with the risk of doing nothing. I would advise having the mammogram. You may not have any symptoms, and that will be the end. Or, you may be called back, but will not have any malignant or pre cancerous cells. End of investigation. Or, you may have a tumour, and it can be removed. At each stage doctors will be able to tell you what the risks are, and you will be able to decide what you want to happen. I have put my trust in the medical profession- after all, they are the experts.
The operation was not difficult, with only minor discomfort afterwards. The radiotherapy takes 5 minutes, and is not uncomfortable.

Lisagran Fri 01-Feb-19 17:35:29

Thanks DoraMarr - sounds like you are a good poster girl for having the screening. You have a good positive attitude flowers

Caledonai14 Fri 01-Feb-19 17:49:34

Nobody should be made to feel bad if they decide to turn down screening, having ascertained the facts. I have had so many xrays on one side because of a badly broken shoulder in an accident and a dental problem that saw me shifted round various departments, that I have opted not to have any more x-rays for the time being. There is lots of advice online for those who choose not to have a mammogram so it's certainly not up to me to offer advice (and - indeed - the quality of advice from others on GN is always good) but if somebody reads the leaflets - which are a bit more honest these days - and decides for themselves not to take up the offer, I think that is acting like an adult on your own behalf and the decision, like whether to take drugs or go hillclimbing, will be the right one for you.

shysal Fri 01-Feb-19 18:02:51

I am 72 and plan to ask for extra screening. I found this link interesting.
www.breastcancercare.org.uk/about-us/news-personal-stories/breast-cancer-women-over-70

M0nica Fri 01-Feb-19 18:14:09

I would always go to or cooperate with any screening, however small the chances of me having the disease being screened. I would do this whether it was embarrassing, painful or any other of the excuses people use.

My father's bladder cancer was picked up in the very early stages because he always attended when invited in for an annual MOT. As a result, he was told with regular screening and treatment the disease would never kill or disable him - and indeed it didn't. He died of heart disease at the age of 92.

glammanana Fri 01-Feb-19 18:30:23

I would never refuse the offer of extra screening after having come through the trauma of a very aggressive cancer 20+ yrs ago the care and after care was second to none and I would always ask for a check up if I felt anything was untoward,if you don't want your body subjected to x-rays you can always request for a blood screening to be done.

Lisagran Fri 01-Feb-19 18:36:48

Useful link, shysal - thanks. And thanks for others’ comments.

Elegran Fri 01-Feb-19 18:59:41

If you ask yourself "WHY are they spending all this money and effort on screening?" the only answer that makes sense is "To save money land effort later on treating people with more advanced disease than they could have caught earlier with the screening" As the people who would be the victims of the more advanced disease, it is to our advantage to take up the offer of FREE checks. That applies to mammograms, poo sticks and any other FREE tests that are offered to us. (We have already paid for them with our taxes, so it is our money that is spent on them,. )

Jane43 Fri 01-Feb-19 22:52:52

Please go, I had my last one in August last year and a small tumour of 4mm was found. I had a lumpectomy on December 13th and am due to start radiotherapy on February 18th. It would have been so easy to skip the mammogram thinking I had never had a problem before but I am very thankful that I did go.

annep1 Sat 02-Feb-19 08:32:21

Was just thinking about this this morning. I would go. and I would pay when they stop calling if possible.
GO!

Elegran Sat 02-Feb-19 09:50:50

Here, they extended the age limit just as I reached the new 66 age. I hadn't been expecting to be invited, but I went, was recalled for rurther tests, and a tiny tumour was found - about the size of a coffee bean - in a duct. By the time I had surgery (a couple of weeks) it was already larger and threatening to expand beyond the duct.

Most of us are saying, "GO for the mammogram" but some people don't back us up. I assume that they are the lucky ones who have not had cause to be glad they did?

Lisagran Sat 02-Feb-19 09:52:09

annepl OK! smile. I almost certainly will go.

Floradora9 Sat 02-Feb-19 09:54:14

I went for it and cancer was detected . There was no lump no other indication cancer was there. Go for it .

janeainsworth Sat 02-Feb-19 10:01:33

Lisa Here’s a link to the Cochrane Review
www.cochrane.org/CD001877/BREASTCA_screening-for-breast-cancer-with-mammography
Which may help you make up your mind.
I’ve declined the last two invitations but I do think self examination is important.

anxiousgran Sat 02-Feb-19 12:05:17

I’d definitely recommend you go. It’s not much of a procedure anyway.
I had breast cancer before I was screened, and it was caught before it had spread too far. Granted, I had symptoms but you’ve nothing to lose by going and everything to gain.
Even if it is part of research into incidence of breast cancer in older women, you would be helping in that.
Ask the radiographer when you go.

Auntieflo Sat 02-Feb-19 12:21:42

Another recommendation that you go for the screening. I am 76 and although I didn’t find a lump, in fact it was a dent, cancer was found. I had a lumpectomy in August, and 3 weeks of radiotherapy, finishing late November.
The only reason it was discovered was because I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, and raised my arms. I thought it was a shadow.
Why did I do that? Heavens only knows, but I am so glad I did.
Please go and have your breast screening. Better safe than sorry. Good luck Lisagran