What is it?
A mammogram is a two-dimensional X-ray examination of the breasts that uses low-dose X-rays to detect any anomalies. Breast tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, is a three-dimensional imaging technique that is often used to clarify questionable or suspicious findings on standard mammograms.
Breast cancer screening:
A breast screening mammogram is an excellent way to detect breast cancer at a very early stage in women who do not have any signs or symptoms.
Our special breast screening programme with La Fondation Genevoise pour le Dépistage du Cancer du Sein (Geneva foundation for breast cancer screening) invites women over the age of 50 living in the canton of Geneva for breast screening mammograms, and further tests if necessary, every two years.
How do I prepare for the examination?
- Do not use deodorant or any other skin products before the examination
- If you have had mammograms at another facility, please bring these records with you, so that the old images can be compared to the new ones
The examination should be performed:
- one to two weeks after your period starts
What will happen during the examination?
You will be asked to undress to the waist and a radiographer will position you against the machine. Your breasts will be pressed, one after the other, between two flat metal plates. This may feel uncomfortable but the process is essential for producing good-quality images. It is therefore very important that you cooperate and listen carefully to instructions.
If your breast cancer screening is part of our special programme with La Fondation Genevoise pour le Dépistage du Cancer du Sein, the radiologist will check your mammogram before you leave.
If you have been referred for a mammogram by your gynaecologist, the radiologist will perform a mammogram ultrasound scan as a follow-up test.
How long will the examination take?
A mammogram usually takes about 15 minutes.
Who will give me the results?
Once you have had your mammogram, a radiologist will interpret the images and send a report to your gynaecologist, or the doctor who referred you for the examination, as quickly as possible. In most cases, the radiologist will not be able to make a diagnosis immediately after the examination.
As soon as your doctor receives the report from the radiologist, he or she will discuss the results with you and decide the most appropriate treatment for your medical condition.