Having follow up tests

Follow up tests are done at our Assessment Clinics. The tests you have will depend on your breast screening result.

Assessment Clinic tests

Clinical breast exam

Our doctors and nurses are trained to perform physical breast exams to look for changes that might need further investigation.

Breast self-exams aren’t a good alternative to regular breast screens. You should see your doctor if you notice any changes to the normal look and feel of your breasts.

Detailed breast x-ray

Sometimes it can be helpful for our doctors to have a closer look at the abnormality seen on your breast screen.

Breast ultrasound

Ultrasounds use sound waves to show detail of breast tissue.

Ultrasounds are proven to be a good way of investigating abnormalities seen on a breast screen. Research shows that they’re not effective at screening women with no signs or symptoms of breast cancer.

Needle biopsy

Needle biopsies involve using a needle to take a small sample of breast tissue. The sample is then tested to see if it’s cancer. You’ll need to have a local anaesthetic that will numb an area of your breast so you don’t feel the needle but you’ll be awake.

How long will I be at the Assessment Clinic?

The amount of time that you spend at an Assessment Clinic will depend on the tests that you need. This will be decided on the day by a team of specialist doctors. You may be at the clinic for several hours.

When will I get the results?

After your tests, a team of doctors will look at your results. You’ll usually get your results on the same day, but some may take longer.

Most women who attend an Assessment Clinic will receive a normal result. If you receive a normal result, you’ll be invited to attend another breast screen when you're due.

What if I’m diagnosed with breast cancer?

A very small number of women - about 6 out of 1000 - who have a breast screen will be diagnosed with breast cancer. If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, one of our doctors or a nurse counsellor will talk to you about your results. They'll also talk to you about what will happen next, and where you can get more information and support.

Last updated:June 2021