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You can find out what happens when you come for your routine breast screening appointment here.

What happens when you come for your routine breast screening appointment

At your appointment the reception staff will confirm your details and give you information about how you will receive your results. You will then be asked to wait in the main waiting area. From the waiting area a mammographer (who will ALWAYS be a female radiographer)  will take you to a private changing room, where she will ask you the following questions:

you will be asked to confirm your name and address and then asked some questions about your health, these include;

  • Have you ever had surgery to your breasts?
  • Are you taking HRT? (hormone replacement therapy)
  • Do you currently have any under breast soreness (cracked/bleeding skin)
  • Do you examine your breasts frequently?
  • Do you have any current breast symptoms?
  • If this is your first screening mammogram, have you had any previous mammograms or problems with your breasts?

After the interview, you will be asked to remove your clothes from above your waist. It is best to wear separates such as a skirt or trousers and top rather than a dress. You can then put your cardigan/ coat/shawl around your shoulders while you wait in the changing room to help keep you covered and warm, as we do not provide gowns.

mammogram machineYou will then be taken directly into the x-ray room, where the mammographer will show you the equipment used to carry out the mammogram. You will be able to ask the mammographer any questions you have about the test, although the mammographer does have a limited time to perform the mammogram (approx. 6 minutes per appointment). The mammographer usually takes two x-rays of each breast, with any additional x-rays, if required.  During the mammogram, the mammographer will put you into the correct positions needed. If at any time you feel unsteady, tell the mammographer, who will offer you a special seat that you can sit on for your mammogram. To obtain the highest quality images of your breasts requires the breasts to be held firmly, (one at a time) between two flat plastic plates. The pressure can feel a little tight and uncomfortable, but should not really hurt and it only lasts a few seconds for each x-ray taken.

After your mammogram, the mammographer will take you back to your room, where you will then be able to get dressed and leave the unit.

You will receive your results in the post within three weeks.

To see what actually happens during a mammogram, please use the following links:

Your guide to breast screening - videos

If you will be over 70 when your next screening mammogram is due, the mammographer will give you extra information and guidance about how to go about requesting an appointment. For more information, click here.

Results

screening resultsYour mammograms are reviewed by two specialised film readers and the results will be sent to your home address within three weeks. Your GP will also be notified of your results.  If you have not heard from us within three weeks please contact us on:  0151 282 6920/6921.

Find out more about the results process here:​​

Screening Tests and Results

There are 3 possible results

  1. Normal

Your x-rays have shown no signs of cancer and you will be invited again in 3 years’ time for your next routine screen. If you will be over 70 then please contact us for an appointment nearer the time.

  1. Technical Repeat

Sometimes the quality of the x-ray does not allow for all the breast tissue to be seen clearly and needs to be repeated for technical reasons only. Approximately 3 out of every 100 women screened will be called back for a technical repeat to get a good quality mammogram. You will usually be invited to attend the screening site where you had the initial mammograms performed although in certain cases it may be necessary to ask you to attend the Breast Unit at the Linda McCartney Centre at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital so that your repeated x-rays can be checked for technical quality before you leave.

  1. Assessment

Sometimes the mammograms do not give enough information and a further examination is needed before we can decide on a result. If this is the case you will receive an appointment to attend our assessment clinic at the Breast Unit at the Linda McCartney Centre. 

Approximately 5 out of 100 women who have breast screening will be asked to come back to our clinic for a further examination. This additional appointment is part of routine screening and for most women invited back nothing of concern will be found. Any women invited to an assessment clinic will be able to speak to a member of staff by telephone if they want more information before attending.

If your mammogram shows something that might be a cancer, you will be recalled by letter and asked to attend Assessment Clinic at The Liverpool Breast Unit for additional investigations. The Assessment Clinic allows us to perform tests for breast cancer in one single visit. Many patients benefit from a final diagnosis before leaving. In many cases (4 out of every 5 women) it turns out that what was seen on the X-ray was benign. Some of these women however, undergo needle biopsies or even small operations to remove breast tissue or lymph nodes before a diagnosis is reached. For more information, please see our link to ‘Screening Recall/Assessment Clinic.’

Minimising anxiety 

Every effort is made to minimise women's anxiety at all stages of screening. Invitation and recall letters are carefully worded and include a contact telephone number for women who have questions. Research into the levels of anxiety when women are called back for the second stage of screening (assessment) has led to standards to minimise the number of women who are recalled for further investigation. Less than ten per cent of women screened for the first time and less than seven per cent of those screened for a second or subsequent time should be recalled.

Some of the positive feedback we have received recently on our screening staff and the service we provide:

Broadgreen Static Unit:  “The staff were professional very welcoming, kind and considerate. My xray scan was not uncomfortable, the mammographer made me feel at ease. Didn’t hurt anything like it has in the past. Great staff some of the best and thank you very much”.xx

Broadgreen Static Unit: “ Very helpful polite and friendly. Willing to answer all questions asked and explain in an understandable way. Considerate of disabilities”.

“Best breast screening experience ever!! Clear instructions from the mammographer that made it quick and simple to do. Screens on wall to look at were great idea to get in right position on machine. Very efficient and professional. Processed before appointment time. Pleasant waiting room. Thank you”.

Kirkby Mobile screening van: “All the staff today have been brilliant, the mammographer is very relaxing in her approach and puts you totally at ease. Thank you”.

Kirkby mobile screening van: “Very caring staff. Can’t praise enough”.

Kirkby mobile screening van:  “Friendly, professional staff. Procedure explained thorough”.