The Humberside Breast Screening Service is part of the NHS breast screening programme. It's our job to provide you with accessible and efficient free breast screening once every 3 years. The Humberside Breast Screening Service provides free breast screening for women in Hull, East Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and North-East Lincolnshire. We are based at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham and use mobile screening units to reach community locations throughout our region. Every 3 years we invite almost 150,000 women from the local area for breast screening. We use information from GP practices to make sure that we invite the right women at the right time. Breast screening is routinely by invitation only. We invite all women aged 50-70 once every 3 years. The screening procedure itself takes around 6 minutes and a full mammogram appointment usually takes no longer than 30 minutes.

Breast screening is able to detect changes in the breasts very early, before they can be felt or seen. This helps us to increase survival rates for women with breast cancer. We invite women for routine screening once every 3 years. It is estimated that the NHS Breast Screening Programme saves the lives of 1,400 women in England every year.

Contact HBSS

If you have any queries about the breast screening programme or about this website, you can contact us telephone on 01482 622300

If you have any questions about your appointment or when you will be due for screening, please telephone us on 01482 622300 or email us at

More information about how to cancel or change your appointment

What is cancer?

Your body is made up of cells which grow and divide throughout your lifetime. Sometimes, cells begin to grow and spread more than they should. This causes a block of cells known as a ‘tumour’ to form. Tumours can be either benign (non-threatening) or malignant (threatening). Cancer is the name given to malignant tumours.

Breast cancer

In the UK, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer. Breast cancer affects women of all cultures, backgrounds and religions. Around 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women in the UK. Men can get breast cancer too, but this is so rare that we do not need to screen men.

What is breast screening?

The screening procedure

During breast screening (also called mammography) you will undergo an x-ray of both of your breasts. You will have 2 pictures taken of each breast from different angles using a specialised x-ray machine. Your breasts will be held tightly by the machine to make sure that the picture we take is not blurred. Holding the breast tightly also keeps radiation levels low. The procedure is very quick, and only takes around 6 minutes.

Some ladies find breast screening uncomfortable or painful, but any discomfort should last for only a few moments. Women often describe the sensation to be very similar to a blood pressure test. Breast screening takes just a few minutes and your results should be with you in 2-3 weeks. Most women (97%) will have a normal result.

xray machine
Specialised x-ray machine

Early detection saves lives

Breast screening lets us see abnormal breast changes at a very early stage. This means we are able to investigate the changes early and achieve the best results if treatment is needed.

Most breast changes found by mammography will not be breast cancer. If cancer is found through breast screening, we have a much better chance to cure it than if it was found later. If cancer is found the treatment needed is likely to be less intense.

Possible Screening Results

All Clear

24 out of 25 women who are screened receive an ‘all clear’ result. Receiving this result means that we have found no abnormal changes within your breasts. You will be due for your next routine scan in 3 years’ time.

Technical Recall

Rarely, we may need to call a woman back for a further mammogram for technical reasons. Receiving this result means we have been unable to assess your scan results, usually due to movement which causes blurring of your x-ray images. It does not mean that we have found any abnormalities in your breast tissue. We will invite you back to the clinic for a further x-ray and will send you the results again as usual.

Assessment Clinic

1 in 25 women will be invited to an assessment clinic for further investigations. If you receive this result, it means we have found an area on your x-ray that needs further tests. It does not mean that you definitely have cancer. 3 out of every 4 women who come to the assessment clinic are found not to have cancer.

Who do we screen?

We routinely screen women aged between 50 to 70

The National Breast Screening Programme routinely operates by invitation only. Women will receive their first invite before their 53rd birthday. If you are aged over 70 we will not routinely invite you, but you can still request a screening appointment.
Download an Over 70s Self Referral form
We are taking part in an age extension trial which means we also invite some women aged 47-49 and some women aged 71-73. Which women we invite from these age groups is completely random.

You can find out more about the age extension trial by downloading the following leaflet:
Breast screening age extension trial for women who are younger than 50 or older than 70

Why do we not routinely invite women younger than 50?

A lot of research has been done to make sure that breast screening will benefit the women we invite. Previous research has found that screening women under 50 has not been very beneficial. This is because your breast tissue changes as you grow older. It is much more difficult to identify changes in younger breasts.

At the Humberside Breast Screening Service, we have recently installed new digital mammography equipment. The new digital equipment takes x-rays in a different way and gives us an even clearer picture.

For this reason, we are taking part in a trial where we invite some women aged between 47-49 for screening. The trial will show us whether screening could now be beneficial for women aged between 47-49. If you are under 50 and receive a screening invite, it is because you have been selected to take part in the trial. If you do not wish to take part, please contact us straight away and cancel your appointment.

The risk of a woman developing breast cancer increases significantly with age (from 1 in 2,000 for a woman aged 29 to 1 in 22 for a woman aged 59). Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in the UK. It is important that you are breast aware no matter what your age.

Are there any exceptions?

We are not able to screen women who have had a bilateral mastectomy (complete removal of both breasts). If this applies to you, please make sure that your GP sends us a ‘cessation form’ for you. If you have had a unilateral mastectomy (complete removal of only one breast), we recommend that you still attend your screening appointments when invited.