Scottish Breast Screening Programme
The UK was one of the first countries in the world to establish a national population-based breast screening programme. There are six static screening centres in Scotland supported by nineteen mobile units. The first screening centres became operational in 1988 and in 2008 the NHS Breast Screening Programme in Scotland celebrated its 20th Anniversary; full national coverage was attained in 1991.
The UK National Health Service Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP), a UK-wide programme of free mammographic screening for breast cancer, was introduced in 1988 following a recommendation from a working party established by the four UK Departments of Health and chaired by Sir Patrick Forrest. The working party concluded that there was evidence that screening for breast cancer could reduce mortality from the disease by up to 30%.
In Scotland, women aged 50-64 years were invited for a routine screen once every three years until 2003-04, when the age range for invitation was extended to include women up to the age of 70 years. This expansion was phased in throughout the country over a three year round of screening. Women over 70 years are still screened three yearly on request.
Up until 2007-08, the screening method used in Scotland consisted of two mammographic views at first screen and one view at subsequent screens. In Better Cancer Care, An Action Plan the Scottish Government affirmed its commitment to the implementation of two view screening at every screening appointment by April 2010. In 2008-09 a phased roll out of two views commenced and was completed in March 2010.
Within Scotland (as part of the Scottish Breast Screening Programme) information and performance data are collected by each of the six screening centres and compiled by ISD on an annual basis. The NHSBSP Performance Standards, which minimum and target standards are specified, are the means by which this information is evaluated. The NHSBSP Performance Standards have been published based on women aged 50-64 to 31 March 2009. To reflect the expansion of the age range, they have been extended to include women up to the age of 70. To allow for trend analysis, NHSBSP Performance Standards based on women aged 50-70 have been produced back to 1 April 2004. Previously published trends in NHSBSP Performance Standards to 31 March 2009, for women ages 50-64, are available in the Tables and Charts section below.
The report from the most recent National Statistics publication can be found on our Publications page.
Breast screening statistics
NHSBSP Performance Standards, at 31 March 2012:
- Looking at three year performance standard attendance figures, uptake has dropped slightly from 74.9% in 2008-11 to 74.5% in 2009-12.
- Greater Glasgow and Clyde were the only NHS Board not to meet the minimum performance attendance standard of >70% of women invited during the previous three years. The attendance rate for Greater Glasgow and Clyde was 70.8% in 2008-11 but dropped slightly to 69.8% in 2009-12.
- Comparing three year combined performance figures for those women with a previous screen within 5 years of attendance, the invasive cancer detection rate has increased from 5.4 per 1,000 women screened during the period 2004-07 to 7.0 in 2009-12.
- In 2010-11, all but one of the NHSBSP (NHS Breast Screening Programme) Minimum Performance Standards and all but 3 of the 13 targets were met.
- Approximately 1,700 cases of screen detected breast cancer were diagnosed in women of all ages.
- Over 80% (1,406 cases) of cancers detected were invasive, of which over half were less than 15mm in size.
- The proportion of cancers for which diagnosis was confirmed pre-operatively is slightly higher than last year at 97.0%, representing an increase of 43% since 1997. This reduces the number of women requiring two operations.
Tables and charts
NHSBSP Performance Standards
- Performance standards [23kb] uptake, cancer detection, standardised detection ratio, recalled for assessment, early recall and benign biopsy rates for 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012.
- Performance standards (three-year rolling periods) [78kb] trends in performance from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2012.
- Uptake by NHS Board [23kb] percentage uptake (three-year rolling periods) by NHS Board from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2012.
Historical trends in NHSBSP Performance Standards (based on previous age range of 50-64 years).
- Performance standards (three-year rolling periods) [101kb] trends in performance from 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2009.
- Uptake by NHS Board [39kb] percentage uptake (three-year rolling periods) by NHS Board from 1 April 1991 to 31 March 2009.
Deprivation screening statistics
- Deprivation [34kb] 1 year percentage uptake by deprivation category from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2012.
- Deprivation [27kb] 3 year percentage uptake by deprivation category from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2012.
Historical trends in uptake by deprivation category (based on women 50-64 years).
- Deprivation [28kb] 1 year percentage uptake by deprivation category from 1 April 1990 to 31 March 2008.
- Deprivation [26kb] 3 year percentage uptake by deprivation category from 1 April 1990 to 31 March 2008.
Other breast screening statistics
- Attendance [24kb] number of women attending screening by appointment type from 1 April 1991 to 31 March 2012.
- Uptake by type of invitation [24kb] percentage uptake by type of invitation from 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2012.
- Biopsy results [36kb] pre-operative diagnosis and diagnostic open biopsies rates from 1 April 1996 to 31 March 2012.
- Outcomes [33kb] screening outcomes from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2012.
- Breast cancer mortality [22kb] trends in mortality since the start of the screening programme.
Breast cancer statistics: detailed incidence and mortality data, lifetime risk, prevalence and survival statistics.
NHS Breast Screening Programme (NHSBSP): general information and publications relating to breast screening in the UK.
An audit of screen detected breast cancers: for the year of screening April 2010 to March 2011: an annual report comparing diagnosis, treatment and survival in each UK region against Quality Assurance Standards.
National Services Division (NSD), which has responsibility for providing the Scottish Breast Screening Programme.
Information about breast screening
Information on the development and major policy changes relating to Breast Screening since the start of the programme available here: Milestones table [25kb].
Breast screening explained by Health Scotland.
Ayrshire and Arran breast screening website: includes general information about the screening process.
Breast Screening Data Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions relating to the Breast Screening Programme data [12kb].