The screening mammogram

Mammography is an X-ray image of the breast that can show breast cancer before it causes symptomes, such as a lump you can feel.
Last updated: 6/30/2020

 

The screening examinations in BreastScreen Norway are perfomed in specialised screening units.

The whole visit takes 10-20 minutes. The imaging (mammogram) takes about 5 minutes.

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 evaluate the mammograms.

How the mammogram is taken

The mammogram is taken in a separate room.

Two or three radiographers are present. Mammograms of each breast are taken in two positions.

To obtain good technical quality and the lowest possible radiation dose, your breasts are pressed between two plates during the imaging.

This press lasts a few seconds. You might find it uncomfortable, but it does not harm the breasts.

The radiation dose is low. It does not involve any risk for you, even if you attend BreastScreen Norway regularly.

Mammography can be done regardless of the size of the breasts. 

How do you get the results?

The mammograms will be evaluated by two radiologists, independent of each other.

All participants receive a written reply, either from the Cancer Registry of Norway or the breast clinic. If you have a digital mailbox, you will receive the letter digitally. 

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

Be aware that delays may occur.

A common reason for delayed results is that the breast center has reduced capacity for evaluating mammograms.

If the expected waiting time for the results is longer than normal, the staff at the breast centre should inform you about this when you attend.

You may be recalled for further assessment

Some women are called back for additional assessment (tests) at the breast clinic.

The reason for this can be suspicous findings on the mammogram, information you have given 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, a recall means taking new mammograms and possibly an ultrasound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it is necessary to take a sample from the breast (biopsy).

 

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

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

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.