Breast screening - What happens at the screening?

To have a mammogram, you need to undress to the waist. It might be easier to wear a skirt or trousers rather than a dress, and just take your top off.

Mammograms are carried out by women called mammographers. The mammographer will explain to you what will happen. If you have any questions, ask.

She will place your breast onto the mammogram machine, and lower a plastic plate onto it to flatten it. This helps to keep your breast still, and make the X-rays clearer.

Having a mammogram can be uncomfortable, and some women find it painful. Usually, any pain passes quickly.

The mammographer will usually take two X-rays of each breast – one from above and one from the side. She will go behind a screen while the X-rays are taken. You have to keep still for several seconds each time.

The whole appointment takes less than half an hour, and the mammogram itself only takes a few minutes.

You’ll get a letter with your breast screening results within 2 weeks of your appointment.

If you’re still worried about having a mammogram, Nuffield Health charity have a helpful video which guides you through a mammogram. You can see what the machine looks like, how you’ll have to stand, and more.

What is breast screening?
Who can get screened?
What happens?
What will the results be?
Why is screening important?
Useful links