If the person you care for is unable to make their own decisions about screening, then you, as their carer, should make what is called a 'best interests' decision on their behalf, in the same way as you may be making other decisions about their care and treatment.
You will need to weigh up the benefits of screening, the possible harm to them and what you think the person would have wanted to do themselves. Whether you are a paid carer, or an unpaid carer, family member or close friend, the process is the same.
Some people may have fluctuating mental capacity in which case, the decision about screening should be delayed until the individual is able to decide for themselves.
If you do need to make a decision on someone else's behalf, consider what is involved in the screening process (including any further diagnostic tests that may be needed if the person receives an abnormal screening result). You may find it helpful to speak to their GP to discuss, for example, the person's risk of developing the cancer in question and how screening may affect them.
You must also consider what you think the person themselves would want. For example, did they used to go to screening, or express an opinion about it? Did they express more general views about their health and whether they would want to know if they had a disease or condition? Or did they refuse screening in the past?
Paid carers in particular should get advice from family members or friends about the person's views. If, after all this, you consider that screening is in the best interests of the person you care for, then you are within your rights to help that person to be screened. You should feel confident that if someone asks you, you will be able to explain the reasons for the best interests decision that you have made either for, or against, screening.
During the mammogram each breast is placed in turn on the X-ray machine and gently but firmly compressed with a clear plate. The compression only lasts a few seconds and doesn't cause any harm.
No, the Breast Screening Programme doesn't operate on a walk-in basis. It invites women in the target age group (50 to 70) for routine breast screening every three years.
Mammography is a procedure that is technically difficult and that requires a high degree of cooperation between the mammography practitioner and the woman.
If you do need to make a decision on someone else's behalf, consider what is involved in the screening process (including any further diagnostic tests that may be needed if the person receives an abnormal screening result). You may find it helpful to speak to their GP to discuss.
Individuals who are undergoing male to female gender reassignment may be screened as a self-referral at the request of their GP. If you have a symptom, you should see your GP in the usual way.
Individuals who are undergoing female to male gender reassignment will continue to be invited for breast screening as long as they are registered as a woman, unless they ask to be removed from the programme or have had both breasts removed.
The screening programme regularly checks records to make sure the service is as good as possible. Staff in other parts of the health service may need to see your records for this, but your records will only be shared with people who need to see them.
If you don't want to be invited for breast screening in the future, contact your GP or your breast cancer screening unit and ask to be removed from their list of women eligible for screening.
Breast screening aims to find breast cancers early. It uses an X-ray test called a mammogram that can spot cancers when they are too small to see or feel.
The NHS offers screening to save lives from breast cancer. Screening does this by finding breast cancers at an early stage, when they are too small to see or feel.
Women who are aged 50-70 and registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast screening every three years.
Breast screening is carried out at special clinics or mobile breast screening units. It's carried out by female members of staff who take mammograms (X-rays of the breast).
After your breasts have been X-rayed, the mammogram will be checked for any abnormalities. About one in 25 women will be called back for further assessment.
The NHS Breast Screening Programme is a rolling one, which calls women from doctors' practices in turn. This means not every woman receives her invitation as soon as she is 50. It will be sometime between the ages of 50 and 53.