FAQ

Do you need any help? FAQ below

Mammography is currently the most reliable way to detect breast cancer. It can detect lumps even before they are felt by the hand. Such early detection can greatly increase chances of recovery as well as provide more treatment options.

During the procedure, the breast is compressed for a few seconds to spread the tissue apart and get a good image of the breast. Some women may find this uncomfortable or painful, but this is temporary and will last only a few seconds.

Yes, mammography screening is safe. Only a very low dose of radiation is used during mammography screening, and the chance of it saving your life, by detecting breast cancer, is much greater than that of it harming you. In addition, the compression of your breast for a few seconds, to ensure that a clear image is obtained, will not harm your breast in any way.

Mammography is currently the best way to detect early breast cancer as it can detect lumps that are too small to be felt. However, a small percentage (10%) of cancers do not show up on a mammogram; this could be due to the cancer being:

  • Located in a part of the breast that is difficult to screen via mammography

  • Hidden by normal breast tissue

  • Not so visible as it may be growing in a manner that does not alter the surrounding normal breast tissue.

In addition to mammography, it is important that you do a breast self examination once every month and go to a doctor for a clinical breast examination once a year. Doing all these three types of breast checks can help you to detect any changes in the breast.

While mammography is useful in detecting lumps, it cannot say for sure if a lump is cancer. Tissue must be removed for examination to tell if it is cancer. This can be done with needle biopsy or open surgical biopsy.

If you have sensitive breasts, go for mammography at a time of the month when your breasts will be least tender. Try to avoid the week right before your period. This will help to lessen discomfort.

Mammography is usually not recommended for younger women (below 40) whose breasts tend to be more dense, making it difficult for small changes to be detected. Instead, an ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves, is recommended. During an ultrasound, a gel is put on the breast and a small transducer or microphone is moved over the skin.

  • Do not wear any deodorant, perfume, powder or cream, under your arms or chest area as it may interfere with the quality of the mammogram. Also, avoid wearing any jewellery.

  • Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit.

  • There is no need to restrict your food or fluid intake.

Subsidised mammography screening is available to Indian women or Permanent Residents aged 40 and above with no known symptoms such as breast lumps or nipple discharge and who have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months at the following:

  • On the SBCF Mammobus. Call SBCF at 0431 - 2701153, 2708765 for details.

  • Through BreastScreen India, run by the Health Promotion Board in conjunction with several polyclinics.