At your mammogram appointment

When you arrive at the clinic or mobile unit:

  • give the receptionist your name and details
  • read and sign a form to agree to have the mammogram.

When your name is called, you will be shown to a private area to undress and given a cape or gown to put on.

You will meet the the person doing your mammogram (the medical imaging technologist — MIT). Let them know if you have breast implants, are on hormone replacement therapy or have a heart device such as a pacemaker. 

During your mammogram

Your mammogram will take around 20 minutes. The MIT will try to make you feel as comfortable as possible. If your last mammogram was painful or you have any questions or concerns, let them know. 

  • To get the best picture the MIT will need to flatten your breasts. Some people find it uncomfortable, but if it hurts, let them know straight away. 
  • They will ask you to stand close to the machine and hold very still for about a minute while they take the pictures. 
  • Normally they will take 2 pictures of each breast. But if you have large breasts they may need to take more. 
  • Your MIT will quickly check the quality of the pictures, then let you know your mammogram is finished.  

Sometimes you will be asked to have another mammogram because the first one was not clear enough. This is just a technical check, not because an abnormality has been found. 

Getting your mammogram results

We will send your results to you within 3 weeks.

We will also send them to your healthcare provider unless you ask us not to. Sending your results to your healthcare provider helps them stay up to date with your health.

If you have not heard from us

If you have not heard from us after 3 weeks, call the BreastScreen Aotearoa team, freephone 0800 270 200

Follow up assessments

If anything out of the ordinary shows up on your mammogram, we will ask you to come back for an assessment.  This is when a radiologist (a doctor who specialises in reading mammograms) takes a closer look at what was found.

The assessment may include:

  • having another mammogram
  • an ultrasound scan of the area of interest 
  • a physical examination by a doctor 
  • a needle biopsy (taking a sample of tissue from your breast and sending it to the laboratory to be examined under a microscope).  

Surgical biopsy

You may need a surgical biopsy. This biopsy is done under a general anaesthetic. If you need a surgical biopsy, we will make another appointment for you.  

Planning for your assessment

You should plan to be at your assessment all day. We know it can be an anxious time for you. You may want to bring a support person or whānau member to the appointment with you.

Your support person may need to stay in the waiting room during some of the tests, but they are welcome to take part in any of the discussions with you on the day.

Your assessment results

We will let you know when to expect your results. If you have had a biopsy, we will make an appointment for you to see a specialist to talk about the results.  

If your assessment shows you have breast cancer, we will help you choose a specialist who will provide advice and treatment.   

Contact BreastScreen Aotearoa

Contact us to find out more about BreastScreen Aotearoa.

Find your nearest BreastScreen Aotearoa clinic (internal link)