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Surveillance mammography

Read our guide below about what to expect from your breast MRI.

You can also download a PDF version of this patient information by following the link on the right.

What is surveillance mammography?

Following your initial treatment for breast cancer, and for some other breast conditions, the clinicians will arrange for you to have an annual mammogram. This is called surveillance mammography.

Usually this will be for 5 years but varies according to your age at the time of diagnosis of breast cancer, and the type of any other breast problem.

If you’re being monitored because you have an increased risk of breast cancer due to your family history, you may also have surveillance mammography.

Your results

We’ll send your mammogram results to you and your GP within 3 weeks. Sometimes we’ll need to do further tests to make sure the result is correct. If this happens, we’ll ask you to attend the Breast Unit at Wycombe Hospital for further tests.

We’ll discuss everything with you during this visit.

When should I have my next mammogram?

You’ll have a surveillance programme tailored to your individual needs. This might mean we ask you to attend again in one year or another interval depending on your age and what is clinically appropriate for you.

Breast changes

Although mammography is currently the best method of detecting early breast cancer, it’s not 100% accurate so please be aware of changes.

If you know how your breasts normally look and feel, it’s more likely you’ll spot any changes that could be signs of breast cancer.

Look out for:

  • a lump or thickening in the breast
  • a swelling or lump in the armpit
  • a nipple change, for example, pulled back into the breast, changed shape or a rash that makes the nipple look red and scaly
  • blood or another fluid coming from the nipple
  • a change in how the breast feels or looks, for example,  it may feel heavy, warm or uneven, or the skin may look dimpled
  • a change in the size and shape of the breast
  • pain or discomfort in the breast or armpit.

If you have any changes to your breast, make an appointment to see your GP straight away. You may not have cancer but if you do, being diagnosed and treated
at an early stage may mean you’re more likely to survive breast cancer.

How to examine your breasts

When feeling for lumps many you may want to do this in the bath or shower, using a flat soapy hand. Remember to examine the whole breast and get to know what is normal for you.

Scan this QR code below to find out more about breast cancer signs and symptoms and how to check your breasts.

If you’ve had breast surgery

There are some other changes to look for. These include:

  • a lump or swelling in your breast or skin above your collar bone or in your neck or arm
  • a new pain or any pain in any part of your body (especially the back and hips) that persists for more than 3 weeks and doesn’t improve with pain relief. The pain may feel worse at night
  • lymphoedema (swelling of the arm).

What if I have any questions?

The Breast Care Nurses will be happy to answer any further questions or concerns. Call them on 01494 426228 at Wycombe Hospital. Leave a message and they’ll return your call.

How can I help reduce healthcare associated infections?

Infection prevention and control is important to the wellbeing of our patients so we have procedures in place. Keeping your hands clean is an effective way of preventing the spread of infections.

You, and anyone visiting you, must use the hand sanitiser available at the entrance to every ward before coming in and after you leave. You may need to wash your hands at the sink using soap and water. Hand sanitisers are not suitable for dealing with patients who have symptoms of diarrhoea.

More help or advice

Contact our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) on 01296 316042 or

About our patient information

We aim to make the information as up to date and accurate as possible, but please note that it’s subject to change. You must always check specific advice on any concerns you may have with your doctor.

Contact us

Breast Care Nurses
Breast Care Nurses

01494 426228

Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 4.30pm.