Mammogram. What to expect: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
I've been told by my friends or doctor to have a mammogram, what should I expect at my appointment?
Monday 15th October 2018
The Harley Street Breast Clinic offers screening mammograms to check for breast cancer for any woman over 40 years of age as long as they have not had a mammogram within one year.
You do not need a referral for a mammogram, however most insurance companies require you consult them or a GP if you intend to claim for your mammogram rather than settle the account yourself.
We offer screening mammograms within our one-stop clinics whereby you receive a verbal result of the first read on the day (on site for approximately one hour) or outside of these times whereby the results take 2 – 3 days and will be sent to you (on site for approximately 30 minutes). The price is the same, and we will book what is more convenient for you.
When you arrive on the ground floor, the receptionist will give you a registration form to complete. They will then direct you to the 3rd floor where you will be greeted by a member of our team and shown to the waiting room where there is coffee and tea available.
Our female radiographer will call you from the waiting room and firstly complete a quick questionnaire to ensure we have all your relevant medical details. She will then explain the mammogram before going ahead with the test.
For the mammogram, you will be asked to undress to the waist. Jewellery does not interfere with the test unless it is particularly long or dangly in which case you may be asked to remove it.
The mammogram usually involves taking two pictures of each breast, using compression, whilst you are standing against the mammogram machine. Compression is used on the breast to keep the breast still, reduce the amount of x-rays and to spread out the breast tissue so the most clear picture is achieved. The compression itself is on the breast tightly for approximately 20 seconds for each position, and the radiographer will listen to you if you feel the mammogram is too tight or you want to stop at any point. The radiographer positions your breasts one at a time into the mammogram machine and adjustments can be made to your position to make it as comfortable as possible. For this reason, it is important to let the radiographer know how you are feeling during the procedure. The whole mammogram test usually takes less than 5 minutes once the questionnaire has been completed.
If you attend during the one stop clinic, you will receive a brief verbal result from the Consultant Breast Radiologist who completes the first read of your mammogram. If the doctor sees an area which needs further investigation with mammogram or ultrasound, this can be done whilst you are on site. A second read will be completed on your mammogram, and you will receive a results letter in the post.
If you attend during a screening only clinic, your mammograms will be read by the two Consultant Breast Surgeons at a later time and you will receive a normal result letter in the post, or a member of our team will phone to ask you to re-attend for further imaging if anything has shown up on your mammogram.
You will be given a copy of your mammogram on a disk for your own records, which you can take to your next screening mammogram appointment for comparison. This is very helpful for the doctors when reporting your mammograms, so if you have any old mammogram images at home, please do bring these along with you to your appointment. Comparing to your previous mammograms helps us more easily see tiny areas of change but it also reduces the chance the doctors will recommend any additional imaging for normal areas of breast tissue.
We hope this answers your questions about what is involved with a screening mammogram. If there is anything else we can answer for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 02079086071 and one of our team will be happy to help.