What to expect at an appointment
A visit to a breast screening unit usually takes less than 20 minutes. You will be greeted at reception where we will check your personal details and explain how and when you get your results. If this is the last time you will be automatically invited for screening mammography, we remind you to phone the department to make another appointment in three years’ time. This is called a self-referral and is open to all women over 71.
In the privacy of the x-ray room, the female radiographer or assistant practitioner will ask if you have a history of breast disease or surgery. They will enquire if you have noticed any concerning breast changes within the last 6 months and explain what will happen when the mammograms are taken. A minimum of 4 images are taken, 2 views of each breast. Images are checked for technical quality before you are asked to re-dress and leave the department.
The mammogram (breast x-ray)
The mammogram (breast x-ray) examines both breasts by compressing them, one at a time, between a compression paddle and the image detector for around 10 seconds. The compression does not cause harm to the breasts. Compression is needed to keep the breast tissue still so the images are not blurry. It also reduces the amount of radiation given to each breast. Compression may be uncomfortable; some women find it painful. We advise women to take a painkiller before their appointment if they have tender breasts or have experienced discomfort during a mammogram before.
When will I get my results?
You should receive your results to your home address within two to three weeks. The mammogram will be read by two qualified film readers. You may need to be recalled to the second stage of breast screening if an area of concern is identified on your initial mammograms. If this is necessary, you will receive a letter with another appointment to the assessment clinic. This assessment would possibly involve further mammograms, an examination with a doctor and a breast ultrasound.
Please be aware that if you are recalled, it does not always mean you have breast cancer.
We’ve created an easy read leaflet for more information.
The Cambridge Cohort – Mammography East-Anglia Digital Imaging Archive (CC-MEDIA)
The Department of Radiology at University of Cambridge is conducting research to test how well AI algorithms which have been developed by different groups and companies perform in the context of breast cancer screening, with a view to improving screening. To find out more, you can read the full summary or a short summary.
Norwich Breast Screening will be providing data to help build a database containing mammograms from approximately 150,000 women to be representative of the UK population. If you do not wish your data to be included in this research project, or would like further information, please contact us on 01223 348937 or firstname.lastname@example.org.