Mammograms

‘Mammograms’ are x-ray examinations used screening / detection of conditions affecting breast tissue such as breast cancer, cysts and lumps and nipple discharge problems.

Preparation

  • Patients should wear loose comfortable clothes (no zippers, buttons, jewellery or metallic accessories).  Two piece clothing is ideal.
  • Patients should arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete paperwork
  • Patients must bring their request/referral form on the day (or check that their request/referral is at the practice)
  • Notify Lakes Radiology team of any allergies, existing medications and if there is a chance you could be pregnant
  • Avoid cosmetics including deodorant, perfume, talc etc.
  • Patients should bring any previous mammograms if they have them
  • Patients with breast implants need to advise the receptionists when booking and the  technician on the day of the examination
  • Screening examinations should be performed one week from the commencement of your period, as breasts will be less tender at this time
  • The procedure can cause slight discomfort

Procedure

  • A radiographer/technician will invite you  to the examination room
  • The patient will need to undress from the waist up
  • The radiographer will explain the mammography procedure and ask a few questions
  • One breast at a time will be placed between two special plates and compressed for a few seconds while the x-rays are taken .  Two views of each breast as a minimum will be taken.
  • A radiologist will interpret the images and provide a written report to your referring doctor/health professional
  • Patients should contact the referring doctor for the result
  • If abnormalities are found such as shadows, calcium deposits, scarring etc the referring doctor may recommend further tests such as ultrasound, biopsy or fine needle aspiration
  • If there is suspicion of cancer on the mammogram, the referring doctor will discuss treatment options with the patient

Risks or Side Effects

  • The procedure can be uncomfortable and painful with the compression of the breasts on the x-ray plates.
  • This may result in bruising or splitting of the skin.
  • If the patient has breast implants there is a small risk of damage to the implant.
  • There is a very small amount of radiation exposure similar to x-rays resulting in a 1 in 25000 risk of developing breast cancer
  • It should be noted that mammograms do not detect all breast cancers


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