23 May 2013
More than 12,000 women living in central Colchester will be invited for routine breast screening that will place between early June and March 2015.
The first invitations for mammograms (breast x-rays) are now being posted out under the NHS Breast Screening Programme.
A total of 12,022 women will be invited to the Breast Screening Unit at Essex County Hospital, Colchester.
These are women with just Colchester in their address so that, for example, it does not include women living in Blackheath, Prettygate, Stanway, Copford etc.
Anne Pugh, breast screening nurse with the Chelmsford & Colchester NHS Breast Screening Service, said: "We advise women to carefully consider the offer to attend for a breast screening mammogram.
"Statistics show that one in eight women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and early diagnosis gives them the best chance of being cured.
"Breast screening does not prevent you from getting breast cancer but it does find cancers at an early stage when treatment is more likely to be successful and women are more likely to survive."
The Independent Breast Screening Review, which was published last October, estimates that the NHS Breast Screening Programme prevents 1,300 deaths a year.
Invitations for screening are being sent out approximately three weeks in advance of appointments and can be changed easily if the time is inconvenient.
The NHS Breast Screening Programme, which was set up in 1988, aims to detect breast cancer at a very early stage and provides free breast screening every three years for all women in the UK aged 50-70.
The Chelmsford & Colchester NHS Breast Screening Service is taking part in a trial to assess the value of extending the age span of the NHS Breast Screening Programme, which means that some - but not all - women aged 47-49 and 71-73 will be invited for screening.
The service provides digital breast screening at Essex County Hospital and Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, and also runs three mobile units which move all over mid and north Essex.
* Anyone wanting more information about breast screening for women from central Colchester should phone Anne Pugh, breast screening nurse, on 01206 744645.
More information about breast screening can be found at: www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/breastscreen
Women aged over 73 can make their own appointment for breast screening by phoning the Screening Office on 01206 744749.