Getting a recall after a mammogram

One of our mammographers, Charlotte, takes you through what happens after getting a recall from a mammogram.

You’ve had your screening mammogram and it’s all done and dusted… then the results letter arrives, the one that doesn’t look the same as the others before or it’s a different colour than your friends got – your friends told you it will be pink and it’s green! When you read it, you realise:Breast P

Oh my god, I’ve been recalled – What now?

Try not to panic! (Easier said than done I know) The letter you have been sent is for an appointment at an Assessment clinic which runs every week at the main Breast unit you were screened under, so you won’t be the only one recalled.

What’s an assessment/mammogram clinic?

It is a clinic that brings back women who have recently had their routine screening mammogram for further investigations. Understandably this can be very daunting and the worry is that something horrible has been found!

The reality is that women get recalled every week to a clinic like this and the outcome is not always the worst, a recall doesn’t automatically mean you’ve got “it”. There are many different reasons for a mammogram recall, and if it’s your first mammogram sometimes we just don’t know what is “normal” for you so we need to have another look.

Image showing breast screening statistics

UK Breast Screening Statistics. Attribution to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/breast-screening-helping-women-decide

What happens at Clinic?

When you arrive at clinic the first person you will usually see after you have checked in will be a Radiographer who is part of the same team who performed your original mammogram. They will usually do some more X-rays and explain how everything will run at the clinic, where you will wait, and who you will see.

But why have you been called back?

The radiographers can’t give you the answer yet, but they can explain what sort of x-ray they are taking, and which side is under question, left or right.An ultrasound examination

Next the Consultant in clinic will have a look at those further mammogram views and call you through for an Ultrasound scan. The consultant, or another of the team, will also clinically examine the breast to see if anything can be felt.

Then the consultant will explain to you why they brought you back, what they now think and what is next, if anything! So you will find out on the day the results of your further imaging, however if you require some needle test this takes a week for the results to come back and an appointment will be made for you to come back the following week.

Image of lots of clocks

Time…

I know! A week! That is a long time to wait especially when you’re petrified of the results, but the tests need to be sent to the lab to find out if the cells are normal or not before a result can be decided. If you do have any needle tests though you will see a breast care nurse who can try to answer any questions you may have and explain anything you may be unsure of.

Have you ever been recalled? What was your experience like? Was enough information given? Has being recalled affected your next screening experience?

Let us know, comment below or ask here.

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