Information for Screening Mammograms

Welcome to St. Monica's Breast Unit


Welcome to St. Monica's Special Breast Care Centre in the Bon Secours Hospital, Cork.

Your GP has referred you to the Breast Unit for a routine Screening mammogram.

What is a Mammogram?

When you have a mammogram, it will be carried out by a radiographer who is specially trained in this area as a Mammographer.  An X-ray machine is used to take a picture of your breasts.  One at a time, your breasts are pressed between two special plates to take the x-ray.  Pressure has to be applied to make sure that the mammogram is of high quality.  The dose of radiation used to the breast is very small and is within recommended limits, so the risk to your health is minimal.

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis

DBT is a mammographic technology which allows the breast to be examined in 3D as opposed to the current standard of 2D mammography.  DBT allows the breast to be imaged in multiple thin slices rather than in one single image.  This technique reduces the effecetof overlapping breast tissue in the radiological evaluation of the breast allowing for better visualisation, particuarly in dense breast tissue or those with increased risk of breast cancer.  DBT also enables clearer idenfication of lesions within the breast. 


Cancer can occur at any time and between screening Mammograms. A small number of cancers cannot be found by a Mammogram, but if you go for regular screening, any changes will be found as early as possible.  At this stage, breast cancer is easier to treat and you have a higher chance of a good recovery.

What happens at your Mammogram appointment?

Your appointment takes about 30 minutes in total.  When you arrive, feel free to ask any questions you have about your Mammogram. You will be asked a few questions about your health and then asked to undress from the waist up in privacy.

We use specialist equipment and specially trained Radiographers to make sure we take high quality images of your breasts.

If you have any mobility issues or have special requirements and you feel you may need extra time for your appointment, please let us know in advance and we will gladly facilitate you.

Helpful Hints.

  • Wear a top with a skirt or trousers, it makes it easier to undress.
  • Please refrain from wearing deodorant or talcum powder.

When will I know my Results?

We will post your results to your referring GP within 5 working days.

After your Mammogram you may notice:

  • Your breasts may feel slightly tender and sore.
  • The skin of your breasts may appear red and patchy.
  • If you tend to bruise easily, you may have slight bruising of the breasts.

All of the above are normal and should pass within 24 to 48 hours.


There are many reasons for changes in your breast.  Most of them are harmless, but you should get any change checked.  If you have any concerns or notice any changes, please visit your GP (Family Doctor) immediately, even if you had a recent Mammogram.

Facts about Routine Mammogram Screening.

  • Screening is for women without symptoms.
  • Routine Breast Screening helps find breast cancers at an early stage.
  • Not all breast cancers can be found by a Mammogram.

Be Breast Aware

No matter what age you are, it is important to always be breast aware:

  • Know what is normal for your body.
  • Know what changes to look for.

What changes should I look and feel for?

  • Any lumps or thickening in your breast.
  • Dimpling, puckering or redness of the skin.
  • A nipple that appears to be pulled-in or flattened.
  • A rash or flaky or crusty skin around the nipple.
  • A change in the size or shape of your breast or armpit.

What if I am called back?

If any additional imaging is required, you will be contacted by a Radiographer who can facilitate a return date and time to suit you.  Remember to always contact your GP for your results.