Information in English

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a collection of cells in the breast tissue that grow in an uncontrolled way.

Breast cancer can affect any woman regardless of the country she is born in or the language that she speaks. One in nine women in NSW will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Why do we try to detect breast cancer early?

The best time to treat breast cancer is when it is still very small.

When breast cancer is found early, most women will get better and get back to their normal lives, with their families and loved ones. 

What is a screening mammogram?

A screening mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. It can find cancers as small as a grain of rice before you notice any changes in your breasts.

Who can have a free screening mammogram?

We recommend women have their first mammogram at 50 and then every two years until they are 74. Women can have a mammogram no matter how big or small their breasts are.You don’t need a doctor’s referral.

Is the radiation from a mammogram dangerous?

The amount of radiation is very small compared to the benefits of finding a breast cancer early. It is about 1/5 of the natural radiation you are exposed to each year just walking around outside.

Can I have a mammogram if I have breast implants?

Yes. Most women with breast implants can have mammograms. You will need to tell us that you have breast implants when you make an appointment.

Where can I get a free mammogram?

We have clinics at lots of sites, including some hospitals, community health centres, shopping centres and mobile vans.

Find out where your nearest clinic is search the BreastScreen Directory or call Translating and Interpreting Services on 13 14 50.

We are happy to arrange group bookings for you, your friends and family.

Can I have a free interpreter?

Yes. Call Translating and Interpreting Services on 13 14 50 and we can help you make an appointment.

Please tell us if you need an interpreter for your appointment.

What should I do for my appointment?

  • We will send forms for you to fill in and bring to your appointment. If you find this difficult, we will help you.
  • Don’t use talcum powder or deodorant before your visit as it can show on your x-ray.
  • Wear a skirt/trousers and a top, not a dress.
  • Please bring your doctor’s details with you if you want them to receive your results too.

What happens at my appointment?

Your appointment will take about 20 minutes. Our screening staff are all women.

  • We will collect your forms and explain what will happen.
  • A female worker will take you into the x-ray room.
  • You will be asked to take off your top in private.
  • When you are ready we will take at least two x-rays of each breast.
  • The x-ray machine will firmly press each breast to get the best x-ray. Some women find the pressing uncomfortable, but this discomfort usually only lasts about 10 seconds.
  • We will tell you when to expect your results (usually around two weeks). If you are worried, call Translating and Interpreting Services on 13 14 50.

What else can I do to look after my breast health?

As well as getting a mammogram every two years, you should get to know the normal look and feel of your breast. If you find a change in your breast that is unusual for you, such as lumps, pain or nipple discharge, you should visit your doctor without delay.

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Breast health and breast screening facilitator manual

Breast health and breast screening facilitator manual

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