Screening women at higher risk

The Cancer Reform Strategy 2007 recognised that the opportunities and protocols for the surveillance of women identified as being at increased risk of developing breast cancer varied across the country. The strategy recommended that all women identified as being at higher risk, (for example, because of their family history), should be offered the opportunity to have their risk formally assessed and, where appropriate, to discuss their risk management options.

Improving Outcomes; A Strategy for Cancer [PDF 1Mb] (Published January 2011) reported that the NHS Breast Screening Programme would manage the surveillance of women at higher risk across England to national standards, thus ensuring that this group received a consistent and high quality service. The report concluded that surveillance with digital X-ray mammography and magnetic resonance imaging should be provided where appropriate.

Following successful pilots at three demonstration sites, this higher risk screening is now being rolled out across England.

Referrals into the NHSBSP will be via a genetics service or an oncologist (in the case of women treated with supradiaphragmatic radiotherapy) and will follow a set of imaging protocols [PDF 21Kb] agreed by the Advisory Committee for Breast Cancer Screening in January 2012.

Screening for breast cancer in high risk women during pregnancy & lactation [PDF 132Kb] May 2012

Technical guidelines for MRI for the surveillance of women at higher risk of developing breast cancer [276Kb] March 2012

Patient information leaflets

Higher risk surveillance [PDF 103Kb] April 2012
Higher risk surveillance - large print version [PDF 104Kb] April 2012