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Volume 8 Supplement 1

Symposium Mammographicum 2006

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Use of health promotion to improve uptake in breast screening in Northamptonshire


A reduction in mortality in breast cancer is the aim of the NHSBSP, with the uptake rate being an important factor. The quality standard is to achieve an uptake greater than 80%.

Northampton Breast Screening is a small unit covering Northampton and South Northamptonshire, with a wide social range.

With the age extension, 44,000 women will be invited for screening over a 34-month period to May 2006. Attendance rates for breast screening are a factor affecting cancer detection rates. Uptake for the previous round was 78.8%, ranging from 68.9% to 82.2% at practice level.


The aim of the Forrest Centre is to improve the uptake of women invited for breast screening in Northamptonshire by health promotion and targeting of low-uptake GP practices.


The Forrest Centre has a radiographer dedicated to health promotion, working with the programme manager and primary care trust (PCT). GP practices were targeted by educating staff, poster displays and computerised flagging of those that did not attend. A letter written by the GP endorsing breast screening was included with the screening invitation. Initiatives with Northampton PCT are at surgeries in socially deprived areas.

Results and conclusion

The uptake rate has risen from 78.8% to the quality assurance standard of 80% achieved through health promotion, particularly the letter endorsing screening.

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True, R., Baxter, G. & Pal, C. Use of health promotion to improve uptake in breast screening in Northamptonshire. Breast Cancer Res 8 (Suppl 1), P79 (2006).

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