Mammography

A mammogram can be used as a check for people who have no symptoms (this is called a screening mammogram and is not bulk billed) or to check a breast lump / change that can be seen or felt by the referring doctor (called a diagnostic mammogram).

With patient care and comfort in mind, BR were the first to bring in the award winning Planmed Clarity "pink" mammography unit to its Bundaberg practice in late 2016, continuing the rollout of technology to Coffs Harbour in March 2017.

What is the test for?

Mammography is the process of using low-dose amplitude x-rays to examine the human breast and is used as a diagnostic as well as a screening tool.

Mammography is an important tool in the early detection of breast cancer, typically through detection of characteristic masses and/or microcalcifications. No other imaging technique has been shown to reduce risk of breast cancer.

What is the preparation for the test?

It is best to wear a two piece outfit (skirt/pants and a top) as you will need to remove your top. Talcum powder and deodorant are NOT to be worn as this may show up on the images. If you are about to have a period you should arrange to have your mammogram after your period finishes. Bring all previous mammograms you have had at other practices.

How is the test performed?

The radiographer will carefully place each breast in turn between two plastic plates on the x-ray machine. Compression will be applied to each breast to get a uniform thickness throughout, which is important to give a good image of the breast. The breasts are held for a few seconds while pictures are taken.

Will I feel anything?

Compression can be uncomfortable and some patients find it painful, especially if the breast is already sensitive or tender at the time of the examination. Mammograms do not harm the breasts.

How long will it take?

About 20 minutes

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Further information on these procedures including reference sheets are provided by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) at https://www.insideradiology.com.au/

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