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HealthInfo Canterbury

Breast screening (mammography)

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A mammogram is a special X-ray of the breasts that looks for breast cancer. A mammogram can be done when you have no symptoms (this is called a screening mammogram), or to investigate lumps, or other concerning symptoms (this is called a diagnostic mammogram).

Women between the ages of 45 and 69 are entitled to a free screening mammogram every two years. If you're outside this age group you can still have screening but you'll have to pay for it yourself. In Canterbury, there's extra funding for screening women at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.

In some circumstances, the radiologist (who interprets your X-ray) may recommend an ultrasound test instead of, or as well as, a mammogram.

Health professionals don't recommend thermography for screening or assessing breast symptoms.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: At-risk breast cancer screening

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Radiology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed December 2018.

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Page reference: 53368

Review key: HIBSS-29688