Regular mammograms reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer, but what do they actually involve? Deb Hutton takes you through the process.
Television presenter, magazine editor, ambassador, spokesperson; Deborah Hutton is busy, but she is committed to reducing her risk of breast cancer.
“I book these every two years, and they sort of sit in the diary at a distance, but the day's arrived,” she says.
“I always have a sense of butterflies, a little bit of anxiety, not knowing what the result's going to be.”
“But look, it's 20 minutes, a little bit of discomfort, and at the end I get a result and hopefully it's the one I'm looking for.”
A mammogram can detect cancers in the breast long before you or your doctor can see or feel anything abnormal.
What is involved in a mammogram?
“Two pictures, top to bottom and side to side,” says BreastScreen NSW staff member Beverly.
And that is it. That is the physical act of getting a mammogram.
The whole process takes about 20 minutes, with a female staff member beginning by explaining the process and answering any questions.
A female radiographer then takes you to the x-ray room, and you remove your top in private.
When you are ready, the mammogram is conducted: two x-rays of each breast. The machine presses against the breast, lasting about 10 seconds.
The radiographer is there the whole time, and they can adjust the process if you have any discomfort or issues.
That is everything that happens on the day. From there, in about 10 working days, the results are delivered to you and your doctor.
“The thing I'd forgotten about is how quick it is; it's a matter of seconds by the time they compress your breast and then go and then come back and do the four different images,” Hutton says.
“And you know what, that's it; I'm done for two years.”
Reducing your risk
One in eight women in NSW will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age.
A screening mammogram is the best method to detect breast cancer early for women over the age of 50, and finding cancer early improves survival.
BreastScreen NSW invites women to have their first screening mammogram at age 50 and then every two years until they are 74.
Through BreastScreen NSW mammograms are free for all women over the age of 40 in NSW.
Find your nearest breast screening location or book your appointment now - visit BreastScreen NSW.