It's time

It's Time

When it comes to breast
screening, it’s time to act now.

If you have been invited to, or are due for your regular breast screening appointment, it’s time to attend. While we may still face a difficult road ahead of us with the coronavirus pandemic, breast cancer doesn’t wait, and neither should you.


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Why time is of the essence for early breast cancer detection

Why time is of the essence for early breast cancer detection

1 in 8 women in Europe will get breast cancer by the age of 851


  • It is estimated that screening saves about one life from breast cancer for every 200 women who are screened.2

  • The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chances for survival. You may also be less likely to need a mastectomy (breast removal) or chemotherapy if cancer is discovered in the early stages.

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that when opportunities for early detection and basic treatment are available and accessible, more than 80% of people with early localised breast cancer will live longer than five years after diagnosis.3

What you need to know before attending

You may be feeling a little apprehensive about your appointment. It’s natural to feel a bit nervous, and the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic might be increasing your concerns.


Firstly, it’s important to know that healthcare providers are taking all necessary precautions to make sure breast screening is as safe as possible. The clinical staff will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and all areas will be sanitised between screening sessions. Social distancing will be in place where possible.


There are some measures you should take when attending a mammogram:

What to expect at a screening

What to expect at a screening

The breast screening itself usually takes about 5 minutes, with the full visit taking about 30 minutes. When you arrive, you will be asked for your name and date of birth to check your identity before being taken to a cubicle. You may then be given a gown and will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up before your x-rays are taken.

The mammographer will position you correctly one breast at a time between two plates on the machine. These plates apply pressure gently, but firmly. Some women may feel some discomfort due to the pressure applied, but this part of the procedure should only last a few seconds. Stay as still as possible, as this will help your mammographer to get a clear image; they may give you some breathing exercises to help prevent you from moving.

Routinely, four images will be taken in total, two per breast. However, if you have larger breasts or breast implants, your mammographer may take additional images.

You will not receive your result on the day, but you should expect to hear back within two weeks of your appointment. Ask your mammographer how quickly you should expect to hear from them.

Why time is of the essence for early breast cancer detection

Tips for preparing for a screening appointment


  • Wear separates as you’ll be asked to remove your top. You might find it helps to take a loose-fitting top or a cardigan with you to wear while you’re waiting to go into the x-ray room

  • Do not apply talcum powder, deodorant, creams, oils or lotions to your armpits or breasts before your appointment, as this can affect the quality of the images

  • If you have longer hair, bring a hair tie along with you as you may be asked to pull it back

  • Let the clinic know ahead of time if you have breast implants

  • Remove any jewellery from around your neck and face, as large earrings or necklaces can get in the way

It’s time to attend your breast screening appointment – early detection can save lives.

More information

Here are some links to organisations and charities if you would like to find out more about breast cancer and screening programmes:
These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Hologic of any of the products, services or opinions of there organizations nor have these organizations made endorsements of Hologic’s products, services or this website.

WEB-01101-GBR-EN Rev 001 ©2020 Hologic, Inc. All rights reserved. Hologic, The Science of Sure, and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Hologic, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks, registered trademarks and product names are the property of their respective owners.

References: 1.Europa Donna, Breast Cancer Facts, https://www.europadonna.org/breast-cancer-facs/ website accessed on 25 September 2020 2.NHS, Breast cancer screening, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer-screening/why-its-offered/ website accessed on 25 September 2020 3.WHO position paper on mammography screening, https://www.who.int/cancer/publications/mammography_screening/en/ website accessed on 25 September 2020

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