Breast imaging is available at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Royal Hampshire County Hospital and also on mobile units for certain screening services. You will be sent a letter with your appointment which will tell you where you need to go.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breasts. It looks for changes within the breast that are not normal. Two different images are taken of each breast using specialist equipment. Each breast is x-rayed separately, a perspex plate is used to compress the breast which may feel uncomfortable but is only necessary for a few seconds.
How to arrange it?
If you have a breast symptom your GP may decide to refer you to breast clinic where mammograms are taken as part of a range of tests. You should always see you GP if you have new breast symptoms even if you regularly attend breast screening appointments.
Mammograms are also taken as part of the NHS Breast Screening Programme, which currently offers mammogram appointments every 3 years to women ages 50-71 years. Women over 71 years can self-refer every three years for a routine screening appointment. This can be done by contacting the breast screening unit in Winchester on 01962 824841.
What preparation is needed?
Wear a two piece outfit (top with trousers/skirt) so that you need only remove your top layer of clothing.
On the day of the mammogram do not use talcum powder, deodorant, lotion or perfume under your arms or on your breasts. These substances can cause artefacts on the images, making them harder to interpret.
If you have breast augmentation/implants you can still have mammograms. Please let the mammographer know before you examination starts as the technique needs to be adapted. If you have a screening appointment please contact the breast screening unit to rearrange you appointment as it will need to be performed at one of our static units.
Please be aware that the mobile screening units are not always at the same site and it depends on the host as to where the unit is placed.
What are the risks involved?
Mammograms use x-rays, which are a form of ionising radiation therefore carrying a risk of causing cancer. Having mammograms every 3 years for 20 years only very slightly increases the chance of a getting cancer over a woman’s lifetime.
How do I get the results?
If your mammogram is taken during a visit to the symptomatic breast clinic, then the images will be reported by a radiologist during your visit so the results can be given to you face to face at the clinic the same day.
If you have attended for a follow up after breast surgery the results will be given to you at your next outpatient appointment or posted to you if you do not have one within the next few weeks.
Where you have attended for a screening mammogram, the results will be sent to you within 3 weeks of your appointment. A copy will also go to your GP.
Where you have attended for a mammogram because you are at a medium to high risk of getting breast cancer due to family history, the results will be posted to both you and your GP within 4 weeks of your appointment. If you have not heard after 4 weeks please contact your breast consultant’s secretary.