Each mammogram is reviewed by two experienced readers. Your results are then sent to you within two – three weeks. Your GP will also be told of your results.
There are three possible outcomes:
95.5% of ladies screened receive a normal result. The mammogram has shown no signs for concern and you will be called again in three years time for your next routine screen.
It is advised to check your breasts regularly and remain breast aware. Download our leaflet. Report any concerns between screens to your GP without delay.
Around three out of every 100 women screened will be called back for a technical repeat. The mammogram needs to be repeated for technical reasons. This might mean the image was blurred or the mammogram does not allow for all the breast tissue to be seen clearly. You will normally be asked to attend your usual screening unit.
Approximately five out of 100 women who have breast screening will be asked to come back to our assessment clinic for a further examination. Four of these five women will be found to have no evidence of cancer. This is the second stage of the screening process. The mammograms taken at your screening appointment have shown changes which need further investigation. If you are asked to attend our assessment clinic you will receive an appointment to come to the Breast Screening Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead. This appointment is part of routine screening and for most women called back nothing of concern will be found. We know that it may be very worrying being asked to come back to the clinic, but please remember that the majority of women (four out of every five) that come back to the assessment clinic are found to have no evidence of cancer.
Why have I been invited back?
You have been invited back for another appointment because your screening showed areas that we would like to investigate further. This appointment is part of routine screening and for most women called back, four out of five, nothing of concern will be found.
Can I speak to someone for more information before I come?
Yes. If you would like to talk to someone before coming in for your appointment you can contact one of our breast care nurses. The breast care nurse will be able to explain the different things that can happen at the assessment clinic.
What will happen at the clinic?
On arrival most women will require further mammograms and will then meet a consultant, who will explain what has been found and any other tests that may be required. You may have some or all of the following tests:
Most women will have further mammograms in order to show a particular part of the breast in greater detail.
Ultrasound will be necessary for most women. An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to provide a picture of the breast tissue. It is harmless and pain free and does not involve any x-rays. The ultrasound is able to focus on a specific area of tissue.
The consultant will talk to you about your mammograms, will ask you some questions about your general health and will examine your breasts.
Fine needle biopsy (Cytology)
The consultant may take a sample of cells using a fine needle. This is rather like having a blood sample taken and you may feel some discomfort. The sample may be taken using x-ray or ultrasound to guide the needle. The results of the test take approximately one hour and can usually be given the same day.
This is where a larger sample of tissue is taken for assessment. Local anaesthetic is always used to numb the area first. The core biopsy samples are then analysed by the pathology team at the hospital. Results normally take a few days.
When will I get the results?
Before you leave the clinic the consultant will talk to you about your results. Some results are available for you before you leave the clinic. If you have had a core biopsy you will be invited back to discuss your results with a consultant, normally within a week.
How long will I be at the clinic?
Your appointment may take between two and five hours, depending on the tests required. As you are likely to be in the clinic for some time you may wish to bring a friend or relative to sit with you and attend any discussions with the consultant, you may also like to bring a book or magazine to read.