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North London Breast Screening Programme
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New technology marks major progress for Breast Cancer Screening service

The North London Breast Screening Service (NLBSS), delivered by Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust to women from six Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), has completed the replacement of all its analogue screening devices with digital technology.

Digital mammography is similar to standard mammography in that x-rays are used to produce detailed images of the breast, detecting potential cancers that are too small to be felt by the patient or a doctor. However, a digital receptor and computer are used to record the image rather than a film cassette.

The result is an image that is both sharper and more readily available than that obtained from the old devices. This leads to earlier detection for more women than before and therefore faster intervention and improved survival rates.

This will improve the experience for some women who may have previously been asked to return for a second mammogram due to a poor quality image being taken on a mobile screening van. Their images will now appear instantly when the mammogram is taken so that any repeats required can be carried out straight away. It will also facilitate the age extension pilot bringing the lower and upper ages to 47-73 year olds set out in the national Cancer Reform Strategy. This is because it is a more suitable technology for women who may be premenopausal.

Implementation of the technology by the NLBSS began in July 2009 and the last patient to be screened with an analogue device was examined in mid-November 2010.

Women can access the service from six CCGs, comprising Barnet, Enfield, Brent, Harrow, Haringey and West Hertfordshire.

There are 82 screening services across the UK, but the NLBSS is one of the largest, and it was one of the first units to be fully digital.


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

Where do we screen

We screen at various convenient places across North London.

Find out where we screen

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