Mammography (commonly referred to as a Mammogram) is a simple x-ray examination of the breasts to look for any abnormalities (e.g. breast lumps). The results are then recorded on to an x-ray film for examination by a radiologist.

Regular mammograms are useful both for women who have and don’t have breast complaints.

A mammogram the most effective way to allow a radiologist to examine breast tissue for changes which cannot be detected during a regular breast screening. 

Changes the radiologist is watchful for during the mammogram include: difference in breast shape or size, cysts and lumps in the breast.

Slight breast changes occur in almost all women, particularly during menstruation. The majority of these changes are benign; however only a Radiologist can know for sure.

What can I expect?

A mammogram is a simple, non-invasive procedure.

Standing in front of an x-ray machine, a technician places your breasts individually between an x-ray and plastic plate.

These plates compress the breasts and flatten them, to spread out the breast tissue and obtain a clear picture. The flatter your breasts during the procedure, the clearer the images will be.

Two pictures of each breast are taken – one from the side and one from above.

This test takes about 20 minutes to complete. During this time, you may feel slight discomfort – perhaps a sensation of being squeezed or pinched. Do not worry, this is perfectly normal.

Types of Mammogram

Mammograms can be divided into two distinct categories: screening and diagnostic. 

Breast screenings are routine tests for women showing no symptoms of breast cancer. This test detects lumps or tumors which cannot be felt by hand, as well as finding micro calcification’s (tiny deposits of calcium which can indicate the presence of breast cancer).

Diagnostic mammograms check for breast cancer following the discovery of breast lumps or other indications of breast cancer. This mammogram is also useful to discover more about breast changes or to better view breast tissue found on a breast screening.

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