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Mercy Breast Clinic

Private Service, Breast, Radiology


When it comes to early detection and evaluating breast changes, mammography is first in line. Regular mammography screening attributes to a 35% reduction in breast cancer death rates, making those check-ups all the more important.

Our specialised digital mammogram system is thorough and painless: an x-ray of the breast is taken, producing high-resolution images, emitting minimal doses of radiation.

Mammography detects in two ways: screening and diagnosis

  • Screening mammogram – This x-ray detects breast cancer that is too small to be felt, has no symptoms and is performed on patients with no complaints.
  • Diagnostic mammogram – This x-ray investigates any suspicious changes shown in a screening mammogram, and is performed on patients presenting symptoms – such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.

In New Zealand 90-95% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history. Therefore, booking in for an annual mammography if you’re aged 40-50 and every two-years if you’re 50+ is essential. We also recommend annual breast examinations by a GP or specialist for added peace-of-mind.

Does it Hurt?

The vast majority of women report that mammography is mildly uncomfortable, but not painful. Women who have tender breasts premenstrually are advised to delay mammography until after the period finishes. If you have had a painful mammogram in the past, please tell us - with improved techniques and our experienced staff, painful mammograms are now very uncommon at Mercy Breast Clinic.

What to Expect

Taking a high quality mammogram is a very specialised task and our female technologists are all well trained. Two x-rays are taken of each breast while the breast is held firm by a compression paddle. The compression prevents blurring from movement in the tissue and leads to a big reduction in the x-ray dose. It also helps to spread the breast tissue out, making the mammogram easier to read. At Mercy Breast Clinic we believe it is important that you are given your results as soon as possible, so there is always a radiologist present to check the films and discuss the results with you immediately. After the mammograms are checked it is sometimes necessary to take extra mammograms or to check the breast with ultrasound.

This page was last updated at 1:34PM on September 22, 2021.