A breast screening mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It is the best way of detecting breast cancer early, providing more treatment options and increasing the chance of surviving the disease.
A very low amount of radiation is needed when a screening mammogram is taken. Research shows that the benefits of having a screening mammogram far outweigh any possible risks from radiation.
Breast screening in Tasmania
BreastScreen Tasmania provides free screening mammograms to women who have no breast symptoms. Women over the age of 40 years are eligible for screening mammograms, however, women between the age of 50 and 74 years are particularly encouraged to participate and will receive an invitation.
It is recommended that women within the target age have a mammogram every two years.
BreastScreen Tasmania has clinics at:
- Level 4, 25 Argyle Street, Hobart (BreastScreen Hobart map)
- Queen Victoria Complex, 7 High Street, Launceston (BreastScreen Launceston map)
There are also two mobile units that visit rural and regional locations across the state.
Breast symptoms and previous breast cancer
If you have any breast symptoms or concerns such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge, you should see your doctor before making an appointment with BreastScreen Tasmania.
If you have had breast cancer in the past, you should see your doctor or breast specialist as BreastScreen Tasmania may not be suitable for your particular needs.
I am pregnant, can I have a mammogram?
It is not recommended to have a mammogram if you are pregnant and over 40 years of age, because of the (minimal) risk to the foetus. It is recommended to wait until after pregnancy.
If you have any concerns about a breast symptom, it is recommended that you discuss this with your doctor.
How do I make an appointment?
All you need to do is contact BreastScreen Tasmania on 13 20 50 to make an appointment – you do not need a doctor's referral.
Visit Make a breast screening appointment for more information.
What happens when I attend my appointment?
On the day of your appointment, wear a two-piece outfit so that it is easier for you to undress from the waist up.
When you arrive, you will be greeted by our receptionist who will confirm your registration details and show you to the waiting room. A radiographer will then take you to the X-ray room and the screening mammogram will take place when you are ready and comfortable.
What does it feel like to have a screening mammogram?
During a screening mammogram, the X-ray machine compresses the breast for up to ten seconds so that the best possible picture can be taken with the least amount of radiation.
While some women find it uncomfortable, any discomfort usually only lasts while the breast is compressed. If you experience more than mild discomfort, you can ask the radiographer to stop the procedure at any time.
What happens after your screening mammogram?
About two weeks after your screening mammogram, you will receive a letter with your results. A screening mammogram may detect abnormalities in the breast tissue, which will require further tests. While most of these do not turn out to be cancer, it is important to have them investigated to remove the risk that they may be cancerous.