Breast screening (mammogram)
What is breast screening?
The Radiology Department at Parkside Private Hospital provides a breast screening service. This is intended to detect any early signs of breast cancer. The private health insurance company Bupa recognises us as a high quality breast diagnosis centre.
In the UK, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer. If the condition is diagnosed early, treatment is more likely to be effective and there is a good chance of recovery. You are also less likely to need extensive surgery or chemotherapy.
Breast screening involves having X-ray pictures taken of each breast. This test is called a mammogram. At Parkside, we use an advanced system called full-field digital mammography. We can find breast cancers that may be too small to see or feel. As a result, we may be able to make an early diagnosis before you have any signs or symptoms of breast cancer.
According to the NHS, screening saves about 1,300 lives from breast cancer every year in the UK.
How can I arrange to have breast screening?
The risk of getting breast cancer increases with age. Most breast cancers are diagnosed in women over 50 years old. All women aged between 50 and 70 and registered with a GP are invited for NHS breast screening every three years. If you are trans or non-binary, you can talk to your GP about having breast screening.
You may decide to attend the NHS screening every three years and, in between, have annual breast screening at Parkside Private Hospital. In this way, any changes to your breasts can be found as soon as possible.
If you are aged over 40 and do not have any current symptoms, you can refer yourself to our breast screening service. You can also ask your GP to refer you for breast screening at Parkside. If you already have breast symptoms, it is best to see a doctor straight away and make an appointment at our One Stop Breast Clinic.
Another option is to have breast screening as part of a general health screen with a private GP at Parkside.
How can I prepare for my breast screening appointment?
On the day of your breast screening appointment, please wear a skirt or trousers. You can then easily remove your clothes from the waist upwards.
We recommend that you do not use talcum powder or spray deodorant. This can affect the quality of the X-ray pictures. It is fine to wear roll-on deodorant.
Please bring the results of any previous mammograms to your appointment.
What happens during my breast screening appointment?
When you arrive at Parkside Private Hospital, our reception team welcome you and check your details. You then meet your radiographer, who is an expert at taking X-rays. The radiographer asks you a few questions about your health and whether you have any breast problems. They explain the procedure and answer any questions that you may have.
We then ask you to undress to your waist in a private changing room. When you are ready, you sit or stand in front of the X-ray machine. The radiographer places one breast at a time on the X-ray machine and lowers a plastic plate onto it gently but firmly. This helps to keep your breast still and allows us to take good quality X-ray pictures.
The radiographer goes behind a screen and usually takes two X-rays of each breast from different angles. Sometimes extra pictures may be taken. You need to stay still for a few seconds every time.
The whole breast screening appointment takes less than 30 minutes. Your radiographer is specially trained to reassure and support you during the appointment.
When do I get my breast screening results and what happens next?
At Parkside Private Hospital, we use full-field digital mammography. This is a sophisticated system for breast screening. After we have taken X-ray pictures of your breasts, clear digital pictures appear on a computer screen. We can also print them on special film.
A specialist consultant radiologist interprets the pictures. Our digital mammography system makes it easier to notice any small changes, particularly in younger women who have more dense breast tissue. This system also often reduces the need to have follow-up X-rays.
The consultant radiologist usually sends the results and accompanying pictures to your GP within two working days. Most people get a normal test result and are reassured.
If we find any abnormal areas on the X-rays, we call you to explain the next steps. Occasionally, we may also call you back if the test results were inconclusive and we need to take more X-rays.
Depending on the results, your GP may refer you for an appointment at our One Stop Breast Clinic. In a single visit to our hospital, you can see an expert breast consultant and have a detailed assessment. We can then make a quick and accurate diagnosis.
Your GP can refer you to our breast screening service by completing a mammography request form and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Otherwise, your GP can give you the completed form. You can then make your own appointment by calling 020 8971 8026 or emailing the form to email@example.com
There are minimal waiting times for breast screening at Parkside. You can normally get an appointment within two working days of being referred. Our Diagnostic Imaging Suite is open from Monday to Saturday. We try to suit your needs. Same day, early morning (from 8.00 a.m.) and evening (up to 8.00 p.m.) appointments are sometimes available.
If you aged over 40 and do not already have breast symptoms, you can refer yourself for a digital mammogram. Please complete this form online or call us on 020 8971 8026.
Our experienced professional team are committed to offering you a caring and effective breast screening service.
Breast screening (mammogram) Consultants