As Breast Cancer Awareness Month approaches, Cancer Research UK is launching a brand new campaign to raise awareness of the importance of cancer screening.

All women aged 50 to 70* in the UK, around 6 million people, are eligible for breast screening (mammograms), yet currently a quarter of those who are invited do not attend. Cancer Research UK has launched Screening Matters to get another three million people into the cancer screening programmes (breast, cervical and bowel) and ensure the best possible programmes are available.

Mammograms are vitally important in tackling breast cancer as the disease can be treated much more easily when found early. Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in the earliest possible stage have a nine in ten chance of a successful recovery. This falls to two in ten if the cancer is very advanced at the point of diagnosis.

Since the breast cancer screening programme was introduced in 1988 it has saved 1,400 lives every year in England alone, reducing the breast cancer death rate by up to a quarter in women within the screening age range. Having a mammogram takes only a few minutes and can usually be done a short distance from home.

Cancer Research UK is asking people to pledge their support for Screening Matters by signing a card or signing up online to show their agreement for what the charity is asking of government, and to pledge that they personally will attend screening if asked to do so and encourage friends and family to do the same.

Maxine Taylor, executive director of policy and communication at Cancer Research UK, said: “Screening has a hugely important role to play in the effective prevention and treatment of cancer and in reaching many of the charity’s goals in beating the disease.

“Current estimates suggest that for every 500 women who have breast screening, one life will be saved. I hope this figure will help to show those not attending screening that doing so could be the best decision they ever make.”

To pledge your support for Screening Matters visit


  • 50 to 64 in Northern Ireland.
  • Women throughout the UK above the upper age range can request a mammogram through their GP.

For media enquiries, please contact the press office on 020 7061 8315 or, out-of-hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.


Cancer Research UK

Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer.

  • Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
  • Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
  • Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.

For further information about Cancer Research UK or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7009 8820 or visit our homepage.