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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Breast screening (mammography)

Aroturukitanga ū

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A mammogram is a special X-ray of the breasts. 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).

All women in New Zealand who are eligible for publicly funded health services can get a free screening mammogram every two years from the age of 45 to 69. This screening is effective at picking up breast cancer early. If you're outside this age group, you can still have screening, but you'll have to pay for it yourself. Your general practice team can enrol you or you can enrol yourself.

Women with an increased risk of breast cancer may be eligible for screening at a younger age and more frequent screening.

In some circumstances, the radiologist (who interprets your X-ray) may recommend an ultrasound test to further assess the findings from your mammogram.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2022.


Page reference: 53368

Review key: HIBCA-57360