What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is a screening tool that uses a special machine to take X-ray images of the breast. It can detect:

  • Cancerous tumours that cannot be felt by hand
  • Lumps in the breast that are not yet cancerous, but may grow into cancerous tumours.

The mammogram is currently one of the most reliable screening tools for breast cancer. Regular mammograms can help to detect breast cancer early, thus allowing for early treatment.

Types of mammograms

In general, there are 2 types of mammograms:

Standard mammogram

This examination takes 2 standard X-ray images of each breast — one from the top-down and another from the side.

3D mammography (tomosynthesis)

3D mammography or tomosynthesis uses low-dose X-rays to take multiple thin layers of breast images, and these images can be reconstructed in 3D images.

If you have dense breast tissue, 3D mammography can help to identify breast lesions which cannot be visualised via a standard mammogram.

You should consult your doctor to determine the type of mammogram most suitable for your needs.

When do you need a mammogram?

If you are 40 – 49 years old, you should go for regular mammogram screenings once a year, as recommended by the Ministry of Health in Singapore. If you are 50 years old or above, you should go for mammogram screenings once every 2 years.

In particular, you should go for a mammogram if you:

  • Notice a lump in your breast
  • Suspect that you may have breast cancer*
  • Have a family history of breast cancer

Regular mammograms can help you to detect medical conditions such as breast cancer early before they progressively worsen. Early detection can greatly improve your treatment options and recovery rates.

*You should consult a doctor before arranging for a mammogram.

Who should not undergo a mammogram?

You should not undergo a mammogram screening if you are:

  • Pregnant
  • Under 40 years old
  • Breastfeeding – wait until after 6 months from your last feed

If you have breast implants, you will need to seek further advice from your doctor.

What are the risks and complications of a mammogram?

Mammogram screening is a routine screening with very low risks. However, some risks or complications may still arise, such as:

  • Exposure to low levels of radiation
  • Temporary pain or discomfort during the examination
  • False-positive or false-negative results

Why choose Parkway East Hospital?

At Parkway East Hospital, we’re focused on offering quality care and supporting our patients throughout their mammogram process in Singapore.

Feel at home with our dedicated team of experienced surgeons, radiologists, nurses and allied health professionals who will guide you through the diagnostic test with comfort and ease.

Our diagnostic radiologists and general surgeons

You can feel at home during your mammogram screening with our specialists. If you require a further assessment of your results, our doctors are on hand to advise you on any concerns or risks that you may have.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.

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