Northampton woman with breast cancer seeks lower screening age

Woman wearing woollen hat and glasses with a grey hoodie
Natalie Mann, 46, found a lump herself and a mammogram confirmed she had cancer

A woman who has terminal breast cancer has called for routine screening to be offered to younger women.

Natalie Mann, 46, from Northampton, found a lump in July and a mammogram confirmed she had cancer.

Currently, routine screening is first offered on the NHS for women at some point between the ages of 50 and 53.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been asked for a response but has yet to provide one.

Ms Mann said women in their 40s and even younger were regularly being diagnosed with cancer and deserved a better chance.

She believes cancer is still a taboo subject and said people needed to know more about checking for lumps.

'In my gut, I knew'

Ms Mann said she was well aware of the need to check herself every month.

"I'm a big busted woman; it's harder to find lumps," she said.

In July, she did find one and the doctor took it seriously, arranging a scan for her within a fortnight.

Ms Mann said she was going "out of my mind, but, in my gut, I knew."

She said: "I have a family history of breast cancer and I know what my cousin and my auntie went through."

Getting the news, though, was still a shock to her.

"When I got the big 'C' word, the whole ground just swallowed me up. I just couldn't comprehend what the consultant was saying to me," she said.

She had to tell her two children, who were both "in pieces".

Ms Mann, who is having treatment and has lost her hair, said she felt "OK" but the disease had spread to her lymph nodes, pelvis, hip and other places.

"Why can't women who are in their 40s - some are younger being diagnosed with breast cancer - especially those with cancer in their family, why can't they be screened as well?" she said.

"There needs to be more awareness, and there isn't. People don't know how to check their breasts properly.

"If you find a lump, go to the doctors, talk to your family, talk to those closest to you."

Follow East of England news on Facebook, Instagram and X. Got a story? Email or WhatsApp 0800 169 1830