According to the NSW Breast Cancer Institute, "1 in 10 women will develop breast cancer by the age of 74yrs" (2007 data).
Mammography is still the most widely accepted test available for evaluating breast cancer. A mammogram is a specialised x-ray of the breast taken with a dedicated mammography machine.
Diagnostic Mammography is used to investigate women, referred by their Doctor, who have a family history of breast cancer, breast symptoms such as unusually painful breasts, new lumps felt, nipple discharge or patients breast post surgery, for example. Your doctor may also request a breast ultrasound.
BreastScreen Mammography is a free government service for well women who have no symptoms. This program invites women (aged 50-74) to undergo a screening mammogram every two years to keep surveillance on the development of breast cancer for the purpose of diagnosing it at an early stage. As a part of surveillance regular breast self-examination and breast examinations by your doctor are also recommended.
Mammography Services Available At San Radiology
Breast cyst drainage
Fine Needle Aspirations (FNA's) and Biopsies (including Vacuum-Assist)
Hookwire localisation procedures prior to surgery
BreastScreen NSW Northern Sydney and Central Coast Local Health Districts is located in the Fox Valley Medical & Dental Centre, adjacent to Sydney Adventist Hospital. Phone 13 20 50 for bookings.
Please contact San Radiology Bookings on 02 9487 9840 to make your booking. You will be asked what type of examination/s that you would like to schedule and for some examinations you will be asked to arrive 10-30 minutes prior to your examination for registration and possible preparations. Please inform the bookings secretary if you have implants as these procedures do require a longer appointment time.
Please contact San Radiology on 02 9487 9850 if you have any enquiries or please email email@example.com.
Please bring any relevant films and referral to your appointment.
Taking a high quality mammogram is a very specialised task, and our radiographers are all well trained. Usually two x-rays are taken of each breast while the breast is held firm by a compression paddle. The compression prevents blurring from movement, and leads to a significant reduction in the x-ray dose. It also helps to spread the breast tissue out, making the mammogram easier to read. After the mammograms are reviewed it is sometimes necessary to take extra mammograms, to focus on a more dense area of breast, or to check the breast with ultrasound.
The images are compared with your previous mammograms to check subtle changes. Changes can be normal or abnormal. We investigate all changes as a part of your examination.
Patients with breast implants can also have a mammogram. However, there is a very small chance of implant rupture during a mammogram. The risk vs. benefit of having the mammogram performed needs to be considered. MRI is an ideal modality for implants but is not yet Medicare rebateable.
When required and after consultation with you and your doctor or breast specialist, it is necessary to perform additional investigations. This may include a fine needle aspiration biopsy, where a fine needle is placed into an area of breast tissue to obtain some of the cells for testing. At San Radiology, a Pathologist is present during a needle biopsy to confirm the presence of enough cells in order to make a diagnosis, this is not usually so at many private practice Radiology services.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prepare for the Examination?
If you have had any mammograms or breast ultrasounds previously performed, it is extremely important to bring these with you to your next appointment. Previous images are useful to show changes in your breast tissue over time.
Do not wear any deodorant or talcum powder prior to your examination as it can interfere with the interpretation of your images.
What about the risks?
Like any x-ray examination, mammography uses x-radiation. With the latest advances in imaging technology mammography units are designed to deliver only the necessary dose required to x-ray each individual breast. Research clearly identifies that the life-saving benefits of early breast cancer detection outweighs the negligible risks of low-level radiation exposure.
I have heard that mammograms are extremely painful. Why is this so?
The majority of patients that attend mammography describe the procedure as being uncomfortable; it should not be a painful experience. Women who experience pre-menstrual tenderness of the breasts are advised to wait until their menstrual period is finished before having their mammogram. If you had had a painful mammogram in the past, please let our staff know when you arrive for your appointment. With improved techniques and the help of our experienced staff, painful mammograms can be avoided.