I'm worried that breast screening will hurt because of the size of my breasts
Don't worry. The mammography practitioners are used to screening women of all sizes and will do their best to minimise any discomfort.
During the mammogram each breast is placed in turn on the x-ray machine and gently but firmly compressed with a clear plate. The compression only lasts a few seconds and doesn't cause any harm. It's needed to keep the breast still and to get the clearest picture with the lowest amount of radiation possible.
Some women do find compression slightly uncomfortable and some feel short-lived pain but research has shown that for most women it's less painful than having a blood test and compares with having blood pressure measured. For women with very large breasts, additional pictures are sometimes required to ensure that all the breast tissue is included.
- NHSBSP home page
- Programme publications
About breast screening
- What is breast screening?
- What does the NHS Breast Screening Programme do?
- When was the NHS Breast Screening Programme set up?
- What happens at a breast screening unit?
- Why are women under 50 not routinely invited?
- Are women screened over the age of 70?
- Screening women at higher risk
- Does breast screening save lives?
- Does breast screening have any risks?
- What is Digital Mammography?
- Research in breast screening
- About breast cancer
- Programme logistics
- Frequently asked questions
- Programme statistics
- Mammography equipment reports
- Programme news index
- Useful links