Mammography

On the day

You may need to change into a gown for your procedure.

Once the radiographer has completed the procedure one of our qualified radiologists will review the images from your scan and prepare a comprehensive report for your referring doctor.

FAQs

Does it hurt?

Your breasts have to be compressed between two plates, so there might be some slight discomfort. For this reason we recommend that you have your mammogram just after your period, if possible, as breasts are less likely to be tender at this time of month. Avoidance of coffee for 48 hours before the test may also reduce discomfort.

Who needs one?

  1. Women with a family history of breast cancer should have regular mammograms commencing at either ten years before the age their relative developed breast cancer, or at age 40 years, whichever occurs first.
  2. Women whose breasts are difficult to examine, for example; due to prior surgery to the breasts, or even because of size.

Why have a mammogram?

Breast cancer affects about 1 in 9 women in Australia under the age of 85 being diagnosed. As mammograms can detect very early cancer – often at the stage when it can be completely cured, it is recommended to women for that reason.

What is Mammography

Mammography, or x-ray of the breasts, is an investigation that enables early detection of breast cancer even before you or your doctor may be aware of any changes in your breasts.

Specialised x-ray machines and equipment are used to take x-rays of both breasts. The pictures taken are then examined and interpreted by a specialist radiologist who will report the results back to your doctor.

Breast cancer shows up as tiny specks of calcium or small masses on the x-ray.

Preparation

During the mammography, your breasts come into direct contact with the x-ray plates, so wearing clothes that are easily removed is a good idea. A simple shirt over a skirt or pants is preferable.

Avoid using talcum powder or deodorant on the day of the mammogram.

As well as bringing the request form that your doctor gave you, bring any previous mammography films that you may have. Comparisons with x-rays taken in the past are very helpful in determining if there have been any changes.

Remember

Detection of early breast cancer, before it has spread to the glands under the arms is more likely to be associated with cure.

Many breast cancers these days can be cured by an operation which does not remove the breast. The common cause of a breast lump in women between 35 and 60 years is a cyst, not cancer.

No test is infallible… and the same is true for mammography. A small lump in breasts that are dense may not show up on the mammogram, so it is vital that any breast lump be investigated fully. Any lump should be examined by your doctor.