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Frequently Asked Questions

Clerical

How do I change my appointment?
Your invitation letter will give you details of our phone numbers, fax number and email address. You can use any of these methods to request a change to your appointment.

How long will I be in the Breast Screening unit?
Please allow approximately 30 mins from booking in at reception to leaving the department.

I have recently moved house into this area - how do I arrange my screening mammogram?
Once you have registered with a GP in the area, contact the Unit and we will be able to advise you when you will be called for screening in our area.

I am moving house to a new area - how do I arrange my screening mammogram?
After registering with your new GP ask the GP practice for details of your local screening office, and enquire with them when you can expect to be called for screening.

I have had mammography recently - do I still attend?
If you have had a mammogram within the last 12 months you should ring your screening unit and ask for their advice. Most units will not carry out routine breast screening within a 12-month period of a previous mammogram.

I don't want to attend and never want to be called again. How can I arrange this?
To enable us to cease calling you for screening we need your written authorisation. We would send you a withdrawal letter for you to complete, and on receipt of this written request we would update your record and you would not be called for routine breast screening anywhere in the country.

In the past I refused to attend but now I have changed my mind what should I do?
If you have non-attended at any time and changed your mind we would be happy for you to contact the unit and we will arrange an appointment to suit you. Also, if you have signed a withdrawal letter, you will find details on your confirmation letter on how to reinstate your details and to recommence routine breast screening.

I couldn't make my appointment, is it too late to be screened?
You can call the Breast Screening unit at any time and request another appointment.

How quickly will I get my results?
Your results letter will be issued from the screening unit within 10 days of you attending for screening.

If I am recalled after screening how soon is the appointment?
If it is necessary for us to recall you for the second part of the screening process, you will receive an appointment to re-attend the unit within 2 weeks of your original appointment,

I’ve had bilateral mastectomies but still get called for screening mammograms which is very upsetting - what can I do?
We realise this is very distressing for ladies and do try to ensure that ladies who have undergone bilateral mastectomies do not receive an invitation for routine breast screening. Unfortunately, occasionally ladies do receive inappropriate invitations. We would ask that you contact the unit and advise us of your situation, and we will ensure your screening records are updated, and we will also ensure that your GP becomes aware of your inappropriate invitation for screening.

I work near to another screening unit, is it possible to attend there for screening, as it is more convenient for me?
You are welcome to ring the screening unit that invited you for screening, and request contact details of the screening unit that is more convenient for you. You will be asked to contact the Unit of your choice and arrangements will be made between the two units to organise your screening.


General

It is okay to come with somebody?
You are welcome to bring someone to wait in the waiting room with you. It would not be possible for them to go into the x-ray room with you. If you have any concerns you are welcome to raise them with the person that calls you through for screening.

What should I wear and can I expect privacy?
It is advisable to wear separates, i.e. skirt and blouse/jumper or trousers and blouse/jumper. You will be taken through to another waiting area and shown to a changing room and asked to undress to the waist and put on your blouse or jumper to cover up whilst waiting for your x-ray. Once in the x-ray room there will only be yourself and you radiographer. There may be a few other ladies in the small waiting area.

Are there men in the Breast Screening unit?
Some ladies do bring husbands/partners to wait in the main waiting room, we do not encourage men in the small waiting area, and we would always ensure that male visitors to the unit are escorted through the waiting area.

I am not in the screening age group - can I volunteer to be screened?
The screening programme includes only ladies within set age profiles. We do not permitted to screen outside these ages. If you have a breast problem we strongly advice you to contact your GP in the first instance.

Do you have up-to-date, reliable equipment?
All our equipment meets or exceeds the requirements of the Breast Screening programme. It is continually assessed for quality and reliability. We would never place anyone in danger from faulty equipment.

 

Medical

I have heard that mammography can be painful. Is this true?
To get the best possible picture of the breast requires some compression of the tissues. Some ladies notice very little, some find it uncomfortable, a few do find it painful. The compression time is only a few seconds and is carefully monitored. The benefits far outweigh the temporary discomfort.

What exactly is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a picture of the breast tissue but instead of using light as in a photograph, radiation is used as this can pass through the breast and out the other side.

I've had breast problems in the past - should I still attend?
Very definitely. We will ask you about your previous problems and modify our techniques if necessary.

I have breast cancer. Should I still attend?
Very definitely. We will ask you about your previous problems and modify our techniques if necessary.

I have breast implants. Should I still attend?
Very definitely. We will ask you about your previous problems and modify our techniques if necessary.

Mammography uses radiation. Is this investigation safe?
Radiation can be dangerous if used inappropriately. Our special equipment and proven methods minimise the risks. We are exposed to radiation all the time, from outer space, from rocks etc. (This is called background radiation) The radiation dose from a mammogram is similar to the radiation exposure obtained in an air flight to America from the U.K..

How reliable is mammography in detecting early breast cancer?
Mammography is a good test but it is by no means perfect. It detects most breast abnormalities but not all. One in ten early breast cancers may not be visible with a mammogram.

Cam I swap mammography to another type of investigation?
The National Health Service only endorses and pays for mammography.

Why do I have to wait 3 years between screening tests?
There is a balance between too frequent screening tests (more radiation) and detecting early breast cancer. In the U.K. this balance is set at three years. It is different in other countries where the gap can be one or two years.

I am pregnant. Should I attend?
Congratulations! Please ring us to discuss.

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