Who should receive a mammogram and why?
An annual mammogram screening is recommended for all Singaporean women aged 40 years and above. Mammogram screening plays an important role in the early detection of breast cancer, ensuring any changes to the breast are identified at an early stage (before you experience signs and symptoms) and offering a better chance of successful treatment.
What is a mammogram and how does it work?
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast which can detect early signs of breast cancer. During a mammogram, your breast will be positioned between two x-ray plates which compress your breast tissue to ensure the x-ray is as clear as possible. Typically, two x-rays of each breast will be taken. The x-rays will then be analysed by a dedicated doctor who will meet with you to explain the results.
Is a mammogram painful?
Although mammograms may cause some discomfort, this only lasts a short amount of time during the screening process and can be minimised by scheduling the procedure when your breasts are least likely to be tender (e.g. the week following your menstrual period).
Why are additional / extra views sometimes required?
Sometimes you may be asked to come in for a secondary mammogram. Additional screens are to:
- Look at an area of your breasts from other angles, or with further magnification
- Evaluate a cyst in more detail
- Evaluate calcifications – small pieces of calcium which develop in the tissue
- Flatten out / compress the tissue to smooth out any overlap
- Evaluate augmented breasts with implants (based on referral from a doctor)
What happens if the mammogram detects changes to my breast?
If changes to your breast are detected through a mammogram, this does not mean you have cancer. Your doctor will organise further mammograms, tests or scans to investigate your results, such as an ultrasound of your breast to identify any areas of concern, and may refer you to a specialist doctor if necessary. At Icon Health Screening, we are here to support you throughout this process and will ensure you receive comprehensive care both during screening and beyond into treatment if required.
Can I have a medical examination if I am having my menstrual period?
It is recommended to schedule your mammogram screening when your breasts are least likely to be tender. If you have not gone through menopause, this is usually during the week after your menstrual period. Your breasts are most likely to be tender the week before and the week during your menstruation.