Breast Screening

Breast screening (also known as a mammogram) is an X-ray of the breasts.

Mammograms are probably the most important tool doctors have to help them examine breast tissue and in turn save lives by detecting signs of cancer as early as possible. The technique of Digital Mammography has been safely and effectively used for about thirty years.

We use digital mammography, which uses the same procedure as a conventional mammogram, but a sophisticated scanner then produces highly detailed images on screen, rather than on film. Once the examination has taken place, the radiographer can access all images at the touch of a button to check the quality of the images before the patient leaves the examination room. Images of suspicious areas can be enhanced and magnified for examination without having to recall women for further scans thus lowering the patient's anxiety.

Before your appointment

Please do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms on the day of examination as it may show up on the image.

You will be asked to undress completely down to your waist , so it is advisable to wear a separate top instead of a dress.

During your appointment

When you arrive, our staff will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. You will then be asked to undress down to your waist.

The radiographer will then position your breast in the mammography unit. They will place your breast on a special platform and it is gradually compressed by a paddle made from clear plastic.

Some patients may experience some discomfort. The pressure on the breast will only be for a few seconds and any pain should only be as long as the procedure. Compression of the breast is necessary to:
• Even out the breast
• Allow the tissue to spread so no small abnormalities are obscured by overlaying tissue
• Holds the breast still to allow the best possible image to be taken.

The radiation will be minimal. The mammogram itself takes about 10 minutes. This may be followed up by an ultrasound which could take up to half an hour. Sometimes patients are called back following a mammogram if the consultant reporting on the scan feels that further X-Rays in different positions or a breast ultrasound would better demonstrate certain breast tissue.

After your appointment

After the scan you will be sent a copy of the report. If you were referred by a doctor, they will also receive a copy.

If you referred yourself, with your permission, a copy will also be sent to your GP to ensure that your medical records are kept up to date.

For further information:

If you have any questions about breast screening, you should contact your doctor. For further information, please visit the websites below :

www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk

www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk

www.patient.co.uk

www.breastcancercare.org.uk

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