What is the difference between the Mammography Screening Program and a mammogram from my radiologist?

Created: 20.06.2016
Updated: 22.03.2018

A mammogram can be arranged if breast cancer is suspected. For example, you or your gynaecologist may have felt a lump or an ultrasound was abnormal. You will then be referred to a radiologist for a mammogram. This applies to women of any age with a strong suspicion of breast cancer.

If you do not suspect breast cancer and you’re between 50 and 69 years of age, every two years you will be offered a mammogram for breast cancer screening through the quality assured mammography screening. "Screening” means all individuals who fall into an age group are offered a specific examination.

The goal of the Mammography Screening Program is to detect breast cancer in women between 50 and 69 years of age early enough so that the tumour is still small and the disease has not yet spread to the lymph nodes. Women then have the best chance of a favourable prognosis, more gentle treatment and being saved from dying from breast cancer.

The Mammography Screening Program guarantees a high quality examination:

  • The mammography is performed by specially trained professionals using tightly controlled digital devices.
  • So-called screening units have been set up for the examination. These are centres specialising in early detection breast cancer screening and they hold a special license. This license requires that physicians and the specialists have special professional qualifications. Whether the criteria for a mammography screening license are met is something which is reviewed regularly. Only then will a screening centre’s license be renewed (recertification process).
  • Each mammogram – an x-ray of the breast – is independently reviewed by at least two specially trained specialists. To demonstrate they are qualified, they must, for example, evaluate mammograms of at least 5,000 women per year and regularly demonstrate they are evaluating the mammograms correctly.
  • If there is a suspicion of breast cancer, all further required examinations will be performed through the early detection screening program. The results and how to proceed are discussed between the physicians involved.


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