Also known as a mammogram
What is a mammogram?
This is a specialised X-ray designed for breast cancer detection. Short bursts of X-rays are passed through the breast to a detector on the other side. Low-density tissue appears dark, and denser areas like glands and tumours appear lighter. This allows radiologists to detect any abnormalities.
Mammography is considered safe, but can be uncomfortable or painful for some.
If you need a mammogram, here’s everything you need to know.
Before your procedure
When you make your appointment, please let our booking team know if you have breast implants, have had a mammogram previously, are pregnant or you are breastfeeding. The team will give you a rundown of everything you need to know.
Please also remember to bring your completed doctors referral form with you, if this has not already been sent to us. This will ensure the branch reception has all the necessary information required so our expert team can provide you with the best care possible.
On the day of your appointment
When you arrive, check in with reception. We’ll make sure your details are correct and ask you to complete the appropriate forms.
You will need to undress fully but only to the waist, so you may prefer to come wearing a skirt or trousers – rather than a dress.
The female mammographer will ask you to place your breast between two flat surfaces. These will move together to compress your breast. You will need to stay very still while the X-rays are taken – a few seconds each time. At least two images will be taken of each breast. The mammographer will go behind a protective screen while the images are taken.
The process can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but the discomfort is over very quickly.
After your procedure
You’ll be able to get on with your day right away, but your breasts may feel tender for a short time.
Your report will usually be available within two working days.
Who can't have a mammogram?
Mammograms are generally safe for all women, but extra care may be needed with implants or if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
In younger women, or those with dense breasts, mammography may not be as sensitive in the detection of breast cancer. If this is the case, an alternative scan such as MRI may be appropriate in conjunction with a specialist opinion.