Screening mammography involves taking an x-ray picture of each breast while it is being gently compressed. Although it may cause mild discomfort, it can detect breast cancer at an early stage before changes can be felt in the breast by you or your doctor.
Because mammography can detect breast cancer at an early stage, it has helped to reduce the death rate from breast cancer in women over 50 in the UK.
Mammography will not pick up all breast cancers however. In women over 50 the sensitivity (chance of detecting breast cancer) of this test is around 85% but in women under the age of 50 the sensitivity can be much lower due to the presence of more dense breast tissue.
BreastHealth UK mammograms are reported by highly trained consultant breast radiologists who work in the NHS Breast Screening programme.
Mammography can be performed 2-yearly in all women over 47 years of age.
Women with a family history of breast cancer can start mammography at an earlier age (40 years) and have mammograms more often depending on their specialist's advice.
Mammography service is only available in specific locations, please call 0800 085 6616 for more details.