When will you get your results?
Your breast screen images will be independently examined by two or more specially trained health professionals.
Your results will be sent to you within 2 to 4 weeks. Your results will also be sent to your doctor if you provided their details.
What if I am asked to come back for further tests?
You may be asked to come back for more tests. This does not mean breast cancer is present, but sometimes more tests are needed to make sure.
This happens more often if you are having a breast screening for the first time. This is usually because there are no other images to compare with.
I've been called back for further tests ...
You have been asked back for further tests because there is an area on your mammogram (breast screen) that needs further investigation.
Most people who are called back for further tests do not have breast cancer.
Any tests required for further assessment are free of charge.
If you would like further information, you can call the Assessment Service you have been asked to visit and talk to a specially trained nurse counsellor.
On arrival you will meet a nurse counsellor who will explain what is to happen during the assessment visit.
You will be asked to read and sign a consent form to have the necessary tests performed.
The nurse counsellor will answer any questions you may have about the consent form, and the assessment team will support you throughout your visit. A team of specialist doctors will assess the area that needs investigation.
Allow up to half a day at the Assessment Service for your appointment. We can provide an attendance certificate for your workplace.
You may wish to bring a friend or relative to sit with you while you wait, however they will not usually be allowed in areas such as x-ray rooms.
You may need some or all of the following tests:
- Extra mammograms – extra mammograms are taken to give doctors a closer look at the area of the breast where changes were noticed. The risk associated with this is exposure to radiation, however very low dose radiation is used in mammography, and the benefits outweigh the risks. Sometimes extra views may be uncomfortable, if you are experiencing excessive discomfort, ask that the procedure be stopped and this will happen immediately.
- Breast ultrasound – sound waves are used to show additional detail of the breast tissue. Gel is used on the breast and a probe is held against the skin. There are no risks associated with an ultrasound and it should not be painful or uncomfortable.
- Breast examination – a doctor will check for any changes in the breast that can be seen or felt.
- Breast needle biopsy – a doctor uses a needle to take a small sample of cells or tissue from the part of the breast that needs checking. More information about these tests will be given to you at the time, if you require this test.
You may withdraw your consent and request that the tests be stopped at any time.
Most people will be told their results on the day. However, biopsy results may take up to a week.
A copy of your results will be sent to your doctor.
Most people will be told that no signs of breast cancer were found at the assessment visit and will be invited to come back for screening as usual in two years’ time.
A small number of people will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
If this happens to you, you will meet with the doctor and nurse counsellor who will discuss the findings and explain what will happen next. You will be referred back to your doctor who will arrange a referral for your ongoing care.
Most breast cancers found during screening are detected at an early stage. If breast cancer is found early, it is more likely to be small, and successfully treated.
Will a breast screen find all cancers?
Breast screens are the most effective test for finding breast cancer early. However, they are not 100% accurate. There is a small chance that a screening image will look normal even if a breast cancer is present.