Breast cancer screening methods and diagnosis
If you make an appointment with BreastScreen Victoria, you are participating in a screening program.
Our screening program method
Our free breast screening program uses 2D mammography which is provides a two-view digital image of your breasts.
Common queries about breast screening methods include:
- How does breast density affect screening?
- What is the level of radiation delivered?
- What is over diagnosis?
After your screening, you may be asked to come back for more tests. Our results and follow-up page has more details about what you can expect.
Other diagnostic methods
- A clinical examination – provided by a health care professional trained to perform a physical examination
- Diagnostic mammography – extra mammograms taking more detailed images of the breast
- Ultrasound – using sound waves to show more detail of the breast tissue and generally used to determine if the abnormality is sold or filled with fluid
- Needle biopsy – a small sample of cells or tissue is taken from the part of the breast that needs checking
- 3D digital mammography (tomosynthesis) – captures multiple images to create a visual reconstruction. Breast tomosynthesis is currently being assessed for use in population screening. The BreastScreen Victoria Tomosynthesis in Screening Trial will gather information on whether 3D screening will ‘work’ in the BreastScreen Australia setting. For example, will tomosynthesis slow down reading or result in a higher number of false alarms.
If you have breast symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor may review your situation and refer you directly to one of these diagnostic methods.
- Download the PDF information sheet What is the difference between a screening and a diagnostic mammogram
- BreastScreen Australia's Policy on screening versus diagnostic mammography
- BreastScreen Australia's Statement on use of thermography to detect breast cancer
- Position Statement on the use of Tomosynthesis within BreastScreen Australia services
- The Australian Government's Population Based Screening Framework