The screening mammogram

A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast that can show breast cancer before it causes symptomes, such as a lump you can feel.
Last updated: 1/5/2021

The screening examination in BreastScreen Norway is performed in a specialised screening unit.

The entire appointment takes 10-20 minutes. The imaging (mammogram) takes about 5 minutes.

Do not use creams or talc in the breast region on the day of the examination. Creams can make it difficult to carry out the examination.
Talcum powder can make it diffi cult to assess the images. Please avoid perfume. 

Before the mammogram

Before the mammogram is taken, a radiographer will ask you some questions and look for changes on the skin on your breasts that may become visible on the mammograms.

The doctors (radiologists) use this information when they read your mammograms.

How the mammogram is taken

The mammogram is taken in a separate room.

Two radiographers are usually present when the mammogram is taken. Mammograms of each breast are taken in two positions.

The mammography
machine compresses or flattens
the breasts for a few seconds
while the images are taken.

Some women find this uncomfortable, but we do this to obtain the highest-quality images.

A mammogram can be done regardless of the size of your breasts. 

What happens afterwards?

Two doctors independently check your images for any abnormalities.

You will receive a written response, regardelss of the result. You will receive the letter digitally if you have a digital mailbox. 

Most participants receive the result within 2-4 weeks after the examination.

Be aware that delays may occur if the breast center has reduced capacity for reading mammograms.

The staff at the breast centre should inform you about expected delays when you attend.

The doctors do not find anything wrong in most of the
women who are examined.

You may need additional follow-up

Some women are called back for additional assessment (tests) at a breast centre.

This is more common for women having their first mammogram and those with breast implants.

The reason for being called back can be suspicous findings on the mammogram, that you have informed about a lump or other symptoms of breast cancer, or that the technical quality of the mammogram turn out not to be good enough. 

For most women, the additional examination involves new mammograms and an an ultrasound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In some cases, it
is also necessary to take a tissue sample from the breast (biopsy).

A recall may cause worry and anxiety. Keep in mind that a recall for additional tests does not necessarily mean that you have breast cancer.

Have you had surgery for breast cancer?

If you are still attending regular check-ups, do not stop going to your appointments. Some of your check-ups can take place through BreastScreen Norway if this has been agreed with your doctor.

When your control period is over (up to ten years), you may attend regular screening through BreastScreen Norway.

Let us know if we should stop the invitations to attend BreastScreen Norway during the control period.

Are you worried about hereditary breast cancer?

Consult your doctor (fastlege) about counselling from the department of medical genetics in your health region.

Expected results when 1000 women attend BreastScreen Norway

When 1000 women are screened for breast cancer in BreastScreen Norway, we expect the following results:

  • 970 women have no signs of breast cancer
  • 30 women are called back for additional assessment
  • 18 women need new mammograms and/or ultrasound, and are then told they do not have breast cancer
  • 12 women need a biopsi from the breast
  • 6 women are found to have breast cancer
  • 1 of the 6 with breast cancer will be assumed to be overdiagnosed/overtreated. 

Two of the women who got a normal result from the screening mammogram, will get a breast cancer diagnosis before their next scheduled appointment in BreastScreen Norway.