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
NHS Breast Screening Programme performance standards, for the three year period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2015:
- The uptake rate in Scotland has fallen slightly by 0.4 percentage points from 72.9% in 2011-14 to 72.5% in 2012-15. The results for both periods exceed the 70% minimum performance standard.
- All but three NHS Boards achieved the 70% minimum performance standard for uptake; NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (67.7%), NHS Lanarkshire (69.4%) and NHS Lothian (69.8%).
- The invasive cancer detection rate, for women aged 53-70 years with a previous screen within five years of last attendance, was 6.5 per 1,000 women screened. This is a slight decrease from the previous three-year period 2011-14 figure of 6.8 per 1,000 women screened.
- All but 1 of the 13 NHS Breast Screening Programme minimum performance standards were achieved and all but 2 of the 11 targets were met.
- 1,362 cases of screen detected breast cancer were diagnosed in women of all ages.
- Of these over 80% (1,114 cases) of cancers detected were invasive, of which nearly three out of five (59.4%) were less than 15 mm in size and unlikely to be detected by physical examination.
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 2014 to 31 March 2015.
- Performance standards (three-year rolling periods) [144kb] trends in performance from 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2015.
- Uptake by NHS Board [33kb] percentage uptake (three-year rolling periods) by NHS Board from 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2015.
Historical trends in NHSBSP Performance Standards (based on previous age range of 50-64 years).
- Performance standards (three-year rolling periods) [165kb] trends in performance from 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2009.
- Uptake by NHS Board [46kb] percentage uptake (three-year rolling periods) by NHS Board from 1 April 1991 to 31 March 2009.
Deprivation screening statistics
- Deprivation [41kb] 1 year percentage uptake by deprivation category from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2012.
- Deprivation [34kb] 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 [35kb] 1 year percentage uptake by deprivation category from 1 April 1990 to 31 March 2008.
- Deprivation [33kb] 3 year percentage uptake by deprivation category from 1 April 1990 to 31 March 2008.
Other breast screening statistics
- Attendance [26kb] number of women attending screening by appointment type from 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2015.
- Uptake by type of invitation [29kb] percentage uptake by type of invitation from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2015.
- Biopsy results [37kb] pre-operative diagnosis and diagnostic open biopsies rates from 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2015.
- Outcomes [43kb] screening outcomes from 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2015.
- Breast cancer mortality [50kb] 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 2011 to March 2012: 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.
Data Management (ISD), which has responsibility for processing the breast screening data, this describes what processes are carried out in data management.
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].