It is a sad fact that about 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer at sometime in their life. We know that the risk increases with increasing age. Breast cancer is more common in women over 50. Some women do develop breast cancer in their 40s, although this is rarer.
Early detection is a woman’s best defence against breast cancer. Breast screening can help to find small changes in the breast before there are any signs or symptoms. If changes are detected at an early stage then there is a good chance of successful treatment and recovery.
Mammography is the most reliable way of detecting breast cancer early. Our Full-Field Digital Mammography system offers our patients shorter examination times, lower radiation doses, and excellent image quality. There is also significant improvement in patient comfort as compression times are kept to an absolute minimum.
To complete our comprehensive breast screening service we also provide:
- Breast ultrasound
- Fine needle aspiration & Core biopsy
- Stereotactic localisation
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography scanning (CT)
- Access to our Breast Unit
Breast Screening Personnel
Working alongside our breast unit team, our Consultant Radiologists with specialist expertise in breast imaging are available to report mammograms and perform ultrasound examinations.
Our team of Mammographers are state-registered radiographers with specialist post-graduate training in breast imaging.
What happens when you have a mammogram
The mammographer (female radiographer with specialist training in breast imaging) will place one breast at a time on a small flat plate, with an X-ray detector plate under it. There is another flat plate above your breast. When the machine is switched on, your breast is pressed down between the plates by the machine. This may cause some discomfort but is only for a few moments. The compression of the breast helps to give a clear picture of the breast tissue. Two x-ray images are taken of each breast. The complete examination will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes
All screening mammograms are read by two breast specialist radiologists, to achieve the highest level of accuracy. You will be notified of your results within 3 working days. Your GP will be sent a copy of your results. On request a copy of your mammogram can be printed to take away with you.
Sometimes women may be asked to return to the Imaging department for further x-ray views because the appearances of the mammogram suggest that further tests are required. Do not be alarmed if this happens, as it does not necessarily mean that there is anything to be concerned about. The majority of women will be found not to have any problems and will be reassured.
You may be asked back to have extra mammogram pictures taken. These additional mammograms would be included in the cost of your initial mammogram.
You may be asked back for further assessment called a breast ultrasound. This would incur an additional cost which will not be covered by your initial mammogram.
In very rare cases further assessment may recommend an additional test called a fine needle aspiration or biopsy and this would again be an additional cost.
We will of course fully discuss all additional assessment with you at each stage.
Please be aware that you may elect to return to your GP to arrange for the additional tests to be performed at a NHS hospital.