Mammography and breast screening
What is mammography?
Mammography, also known as breast screening or breast x-ray, is used to detect changes that have occurred in a woman's breast.
A mammogram is produced by passing a type of radiation through the body, in the same way as with other x-ray. Dense parts of the body, such as bone, show as a clear white on the image produced, while softer areas such as the heart and lungs are darker.
Because there is only a small amount of radiation involved, the process is not harmful.
The image that is produced from breast screening can show up changes in breast tissue.
According to Macmillan Cancer Support, screening for breast cancer in this way saves the lives of around 1,400 women a year across England.
What is breast screening?
Our breast care nurse consultant will start by examining your breasts and teaching you about breast awareness. This will help you to check your breasts regularly, and knowing what is normal for them will make it easier for you to notice if anything about them changes in the future
You will then have a digital mammogram, carried out by a mammographer and interpreted by a specialist consultant. During the mammogram, the breast that is being x-rayed is held between two metal plates, so it can be slightly uncomfortable. However it is a quick and pain-free procedure.
After your examination, you can obtain a copy of the mammogram images upon request. A report will be produced and sent directly to the doctor who referred you to us.
You will usually receive the results of your assessment within 48 hours, and can choose to hear these by phone, via your GP or in person.
Why choose Cromwell Hospital for breast screening?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and if detected early, treatment can be easier, and is more likely to be successful. The NHS currently offers three-yearly mammograms to women of 47 years of age or older.
However, two out of every ten women with breast cancer are under 50 when they are diagnosed, so many younger women choose to be screened privately to provide peace of mind, or early detection of any problems.
Rapid diagnostic breast care service
If further treatment is required the breast care nurse consultant can quickly refer you to our rapid diagnostic breast care service.