Now that You've Had Your Mammogram – English version - HE10117

March 2021
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BreastScreen Aotearoa is a free national breast screening programme that checks women for early breast cancer. Describes in English what happens after you have had a mammogram. For BreastScreen Aotearoa Centres only.

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March 2021
March 2021
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Early detection is your best protection

Thank you for taking part in BreastScreen Aotearoa. You may be wondering what happens next. This pamphlet explains the process.

Two radiologists (doctors who specialise in reading X-rays) will closely check your mammograms. Most mammograms will prove to be normal. If the programme has any of your previous mammograms, a comparison will be made to check for any changes.

Your results will then be sent to you. They will also be sent to your doctor if you have agreed to this. Results should reach you within two weeks of your visit. If you have not received them in this time, please call Freephone 0800 270 200.

Most women’s results will be normal, and they will be asked to return for their next mammogram in two years. For you to get the most benefit from the programme, it is very important that you return for screening every two years. (You will be sent a letter to remind you.) This means that any changes that develop in the breasts between mammograms have a good chance of being found and treated early. Early treatment usually means a better outcome.

Some women may be asked to return to BreastScreen Aotearoa for an assessment because something has shown up on the mammogram that needs further checking. More information will be given to you about assessment if you are recalled. Most women who are recalled will not have breast cancer.

Your rights

As with all health services, your rights are protected by the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights. The programme also has a legal obligation under the Health Information Privacy Code. Your results will be sent directly to you and also to your doctor if you have agreed to this. Your clinical record and breast X-rays will be kept confidential and stored securely.


  • Mammograms do not prevent cancer, but they can detect it.
  • Mammograms find most cancers present at the time of screening, but approximately 10 percent of breast cancers will not be found.

Possible signs of breast cancer are:

  • a new lump or thickening
  • a change in breast shape or size
  • pain in the breast that is unusual
  • puckering or dimpling of the skin
  • any change in one nipple, such as:
    • a turned-in nipple
    • a discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • a rash or reddening of the skin that appears only on the breast.

While these signs may not be cancer, you need to have them checked by your doctor.

If your mammogram today was painful, it is important to talk to the staff at BreastScreen Aotearoa before coming back for your next one. They can help you make it more comfortable next time.

We welcome any comments about your visit today and encourage you to tell your friends about the programme. We hope to see you again in two years.

To contact your nearest BreastScreen Aotearoa Centre, ring 0800 270 200 or visit

Code: HE10117