Breast Cancer > Diagnosis: mammography

  • Imaging is one part of the ‘triple test’ or ‘triple assessment’ for suspected breast cancer.
  • Imaging is the process of getting a picture of what lies inside the breast. Mammography is one of the most common forms of imaging. Your doctors may also use ultrasound scanning and magnetic resonance imaging.
  • An X-ray picture is taken of the breast while it is compressed between two plates. This can be uncomfortable. Usually two views are taken, one from the top and one from the side.
  • Digital mammography is widely used. It exposes the breast to lower radiation doses and is less uncomfortable to patients because of a reduction in the amount of compression.
  • Mammography can accurately diagnose over 95% of cases when there is a lump in the breast that can be felt, but only 50% of cases where the cancer cannot be felt.
  • If an abnormality is found by mammography, then ultrasound scanning is usually the next step.