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
- NHSBSP home page
- Programme publications
About breast screening
- What is breast screening?
- What does the NHS Breast Screening Programme do?
- When was the NHS Breast Screening Programme set up?
- What happens at a breast screening unit?
- Why are women under 50 not routinely invited?
- Are women screened over the age of 70?
- Screening women at higher risk
- Does breast screening save lives?
- Does breast screening have any risks?
- What is Digital Mammography?
- Research in breast screening
- About breast cancer
- Programme logistics
- Frequently asked questions
- Programme statistics
- Mammography equipment reports
- Programme news index
- Useful links