BREAST SCREEN AOTEAROA

Taranaki Radiology is proud to deliver the static BreastScreen Aotearoa service in the province.

BreastScreen Aotearoa is the national screening service funded by the National Screening Unit of the Ministry of Health. In Taranaki, the programme is managed by a regional lead provider, Breast Screen Coast to Coast.

BreastScreen Aotearoa is New Zealand’s free breast screening programme for women aged between 45 and 69

  • Screening Mammograms are performed when a patient has no breast symptoms or concerns.
  • Eligible women aged between 45 and 69 can get a free mammogram (a kind of breast check) every 2 years. This is part of a programme run by BreastScreen Aotearoa.
  • Regular screening mammograms are recommended by the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ for women beginning at the age of 40.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

You are eligible for breast screening if you:

  • are aged 45 to 69
  • have no symptoms of breast cancer
  • have not had a mammogram from another provider within the last 12 months
  • are not currently pregnant or breastfeeding
  • are eligible for public health services in New Zealand (check on the Ministry of Health website)

To sign up for a 2-yearly mammogram please contact BreastScreenAotearoa:

  • Regular screening mammograms are recommended by the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ for women beginning at the age of 40.
  • Mammograms are a type of x-ray examination that expose the breasts to small amounts of radiation. Experts agree that the benefit of finding potential cancer early outweighs any possible harm from radiation exposure.
  • Radiation is something that naturally occurs in our environment.  The dose of radiation used for a screening mammogram of both breasts is about the same amount of radiation a woman would get from her natural surroundings over about seven weeks.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Once you are enrolled in the Breast Screening programme Breast Screening will arrange your mammogram appointment for you.
  • Be sure to tell us if you are breast feeding, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant, as your examination will need to be deferred.
  • On the day of your mammogram, please arrive at 56 Fulford Street, 10 minutes early for check-in.
  • A technologist (also known as a mammographer) will greet you and will go over a few health questions with you.
  • You will be led to a changing room to remove your shirt and bra and put on a robe or gown that we provide for your examination.
  • Your technologist will show you to the mammogram suite and will position you in front of the machine.
  • One at a time, your breasts will be carefully positioned between the adjustable platform and clear plate. You will feel brief pressure (also known as compression) as the plate flattens the breast tissue to get the clearest image.
  • When your mammogram is complete, you will be escorted back to the changing room so you can change out of the gown and back into your clothing.
  • Once you have changed, your appointment is complete.
  • After your examination, Breast Screening will send out your results to you within 3 weeks, and to your doctor (unless you ask us not to). This helps your doctor stay up to date with your health.
  • Please phone Breast Screen on 0800 270 200 if you haven’t heard from them within 3 weeks. It can be a nervous wait, but remember that most women get an ‘all clear’ to return for their next mammogram in 2 years.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a safe, low-dose x-ray of the breast that can pick up very small breast cancers, well before a lump can be felt. Early detection can reduce the chance of dying from breast cancer by approximately one third, as small, early cancers are easier to treat.
How do I enrol in the Breast Screening programme or book an appointment?

There are several ways to enrol in the programme and book a mammogram appointment:

  • Freephone BreastScreen Coast to Coast on 0800 270 200
  • Enrol when you visit your GP. Your GP may also send you a letter to advise that you may be eligible to join the BreastScreen Aotearoa programme.
  • Enrol online at the BreastScreen Aotearoa website
  • If you have been previously screened by BreastScreen Aotearoa you will receive a letter inviting you for another mammogram when you are due.
Who is a mammographer ?
A Mammographer is a trained radiographer/technologist who has specialised in performing x-rays of the breast.
Can I use deodorant or lotions before a mammogram?
You should avoid the use of all personal care products on the breasts and under arm area on the day of your mammogram. Do not apply any deodorant, antiperspirant, lotion, body powder or perfume to your breast or underarm area. Any of these personal care products can affect your test results, showing as white areas on the mammogram images. Even if the products are not directly on the breast, such as in the armpits, they can still affect the test results, so it’s best to avoid all of these types of products on the breasts, in the armpits and all surrounding areas. If you forget this before your appointment, your technologist will provide you with wet wipes to clean off the area before the procedure.

Be sure to wipe thoroughly under both arms, and each breast as well. Cleaning your skin ensures any residue that’s left from lotions, creams or deodorants won’t interfere with your imaging.

If it’s uncomfortable for you to go without these products, you can schedule your test earlier in the morning, so you don’t have to go all day without personal care products. You can also bring them with you and apply right after your appointment.

What should I wear to a mammogram?

What you wear to a mammogram won’t affect the procedure or test results as we will ask you to get changed in to one our our gowns. However, you will need to remove any clothing from the waist up, so you may be more comfortable if you avoid one-piece outfits like dresses and jumpsuits. Wearing a shirt with pants or a skirt ensures you will only have to remove your top and bra for the test. You should also avoid wearing any jewellery like a necklace, since you’ll have to take it off anyway.

Can you eat and drink before a mammogram?
Mammogram appointments do not require fasting beforehand, so feel free to eat and drink as usual. Eating and drinking, even right before the test, won’t affect the procedure or the results.
Can I schedule a mammogram during my period?
Your monthly cycle won’t necessarily affect the outcome of the mammogram. However, many women experience some mild swelling and tenderness of the breasts the week before, and during, their periods. So, if you are pre-menopausal, you will likely be more comfortable during the mammogram if you schedule the appointment for the week after your period.
Can you take medications before a mammogram?

Most regular prescription and over-the-counter medications won’t affect the outcome of your mammogram, so you can take your usual medications without worry. You may even want to take ibuprofen right before your appointment if you have any concerns about pain during the procedure. However, know that your mammographer will have your comfort in mind, and will be as gentle as possible.

What you shouldn’t do before a mammogram

Before your mammogram appointment, of the biggest “don’ts” to remember is: Don’t worry!

We completely understand you being apprehensive and anxious but there is no need to be scared of the procedure, which is performed as gently as possible, with many only experiencing minor discomfort. Having this important examination done can protect your health and give you peace of mind. 

Should you bring anything with you to a mammogram appointment?
Generally, you don’t need to bring anything extra with you to your appointment. If you’ve previously had any mammograms at other facilities, you should bring any prior mammogram images with you so your technologist can compare the images and look for any changes. You should also be sure to discuss with your technologist any changes you may have noticed in your breast tissue, or changes and concerns in personal or family health history.
Where do I go for my mammogram appointment?

Once you’re enrolled you can make an appointment on 0800 270 200. Eligible women in Taranaki can have their free mammogram at the following location:

  • Tarankai Radiology at 56 Fulford Street, New Plymouth

There are also mobile breast screening units servicing towns, suburbs and regions. Click here to view the schedule and call 0800 270 200 to book an appointment.

Does a mammogram hurt?

Everyone experiences mammograms differently. Discomfort during a mammogram procedure varies from patient to patient. Some experience discomfort due to the compression that is applied to the breast, and others may not feel anything at all. Most people, however, tolerate the exam quite well.

Service Location: Fulford

Fulford
Mammography, Ultrasound and CT Scanning

56 Fulford Street, New Plymouth

8am-5pm weekdays

Appointments available evenings and weekends

Phone 06 759 4317 extension 710