Mammography is the most reliable method of detecting breast screening early but, like other screening tests, it is not perfect. Women invited to participate in the breast screening programme need to understand the potential benefits and harms in doing so and to be able to make an informed choice about whether or not they wish to proceed.
Information provided to women must be honest, comprehensive and understandable. That is why the NHS cancer plan stated that all eligible women will receive a national information leaflet on breast screening, which is now sent out with each invitation for screening and can be viewed at www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk
To raise awareness about the availability of breast cancer screening, NHS cancer screening programmes issued a regional communications pack to all local breast screening programmes in 2004. The packs include advice on raising the awareness of screening, including posters, and supplement local activity to promote the availability of breast screening. We encourage all women to make an informed choice on whether to accept their invitations to be screened.