A mammogram is an X-ray examination to show the breast tissue. It is carried out using one of our two digital mammography units using a low dose of ionising radiation.
A breast ultrasound maybe offered however a mammogram remains one of the most efficient methods of detecting early breast cancer.
All patients attending the department for a mammogram and/or breast ultrasound should have received a copy of the ‘Having a Mammogram’ or ‘Breast Ultrasound’ information leaflet with their appointment letter.
The mammography department is part of the radiology department. It is also known as X-ray or imaging department. It is located on Level B near the main entrance.
Some ultrasound scans are performed in Castle Outpatients department on Level H.
It will help the doctors make a diagnosis for you.
There are some small risks involved with having X-rays taken as ionising radiation is used to produce an image.
The amount of radiation used is equal to that which we all normally receive from the environment over a short period of time.
If you choose not to have a mammogram, your diagnosis may be delayed.
You may be offered a different examination such as a Breast Ultrasound.
What alternatives are available?
If you are under 40, you may be offered breast ultrasound as an initial examination but you may also need a mammogram should the breast clinician or radiologist think it is necessary.
When you are in the privacy of the ultrasound/mammogram room, the radiographer or doctor will explain the procedure to you. You will be asked if you agree to have the scan (obtain your verbal consent) before you undress to the waist and lie on the examination couch.
A small amount of gel is put on the surface of your breast and the smooth ultrasound probe moved over the skin surface.
Images of your breast tissue will be seen on a monitor screen. When the scan is completed you will be able to wipe your breast dry and dress.
A specially trained radiology consultant or breast clinician will perform your ultrasound scan.
If you are attending a routine follow up appointment, the radiologist will usually tell you the results if no needle tests are done.
If you are attending a ‘one-stop’ breast clinic, your consultant will usually tell you the results at that appointment.