Breast scans are used to screen for breast cancer when it is too small to see or feel. In the UK all women from 50 to 70 who are registered with a GP are invited for breast screening every three years. In some parts of England, invites for screening are sent between the ages of 47 and 73 as part of a trial.
The advantage of breast screening is that cancers that are caught early before they have spread are easier to treat. The disadvantage is that sometimes women are treated for a breast cancer that would not have caused any problems. On balance, however, doctors recommend screening for peace of mind.
Around one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. If picked up early there is a good chance of recovery.