Screening Mammography

Canterbury Breastcare EntraceA Screening Mammogram is a breast x-ray and is used to look for possible breast cancer when you have no signs or symptoms of breast disease. Mammography can detect tiny changes in your breasts which you may not have noticed. These changes may be due to cancer and may be smaller than a grain of rice. Early detection and treatment of small cancers greatly increases your chances of cure.

About 1 woman in 10 will develop breast cancer at some time in her life. The risk of breast cancer increases with age, 70% of breast cancers occur in women over 50 years of age.

The benefits of screening mammography have been proven in large international trials. Yearly mammography is recommended for women 40-50 years of age. Women over the age of 50 years should have screening mammography every two years. It may be appropriate that women with a family history of breast cancer start mammography at an earlier age, or have annual mammography.

Screening Mammography versus Screening Ultrasound

Screening Mammography uses small amounts of ionising radiation to produce an
x-ray. Compression of the breast is necessary which may be uncomfortable for some women. Mammography produces high spatial resolution, resulting in good detail. Ultrasound is a painless procedure, which involves a scanning probe passed over the breast. Ultrasound cannot provide as much detail as a mammogram. Microcalcifications are not able to be seen on ultrasound, and these may be the first indications of breast cancer. Ultrasound is easily able to differentiate between fluid filled structures (cysts) and normal breast tissue.