A mammogram is an X-ray image of your breasts used to screen for breast cancer. Mammograms play a key role in early breast cancer detection and help decrease breast cancer deaths.

A mammogram can be used either for screening or for diagnostic purposes. How often you should have a mammogram depends on your age and your risk of breast cancer.

During a mammogram, your breasts are compressed between two firm surfaces to spread out the breast tissue. Then an X-ray captures black-and-white images of your breasts that are displayed on a computer screen and examined by a doctor who looks for signs of cancer.

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If you’ve never had an 3D Mammography scan you might not know what to expect and this brief guide is designed to answer the questions that might be in your mind.

  • It’s important to tell us before your scan if you:
  • are (or might be) pregnant or breastfeeding
  • have breast problems, breast surgeries, breast implants or biopsies
  • have obtained any prior mammograms
  • New lumps or changes in your breasts (i.e. nipple discharge)
  • Women should consider scheduling mammography for a date one week after their period begins.
  • Please confirm your appointment by phone 24 hours before your scan and arrive in plenty of time.
  • Recommended to wear comfortable, easy-to-remove clothing.
  • Deodorant, perfume, lotion and other products should not be applied to the underarm or torso before 3D mammography.
  • You’re welcome to bring a friend or a relative with you, but for safety reasons, we don't normally allow them into the examination room.
  • Don’t forget to bring your appointment letter with you.
  • Once you have checked in at reception, a member of the radiography team will meet you, explain the procedure, go through your safety questionnaire with you and ask you to sign a consent form.
  • You will have the opportunity to ask any questions.
  • We might ask you to change into an examination gown. We provide somewhere to store your personal possessions.
  • Throughout the procedure, you will be looked after by the radiography team. They will explain what’s happening and will be there if you experience any discomfort.
  • The examination should take no more than a few minutes.
  • The technologist operating the equipment will be able to see and hear you throughout the procedure.
  • You will be positioned before a 3D mammography machine and your breasts will be held in place by two compression plates causing discomfort for a few seconds.
  • During the brief X-ray exposure, you'll be asked to stand still and hold your breath.
  • For safety reasons, we won’t normally allow anyone accompanying you to come into the examination room whilst you are having your procedure.
  • There are no restrictions on normal activity, you can eat and drink normally, drive and return to work immediately after the scan.
  • A radiologist will examine the images shortly after your visit and send a report to your doctor or consultant, normally within a few days.
  • For ethical and professional reasons, we cannot discuss results with you. Only your doctor or consultant can do this