Digital mammogram examination
A mammogram is usually the first step in the diagnosis of breast lumps. X-ray images are taken of the breast. In various cantons of Switzerland, this method is also recommended in the context of breast cancer screening.

The mammography equipment of Salem-Spital is state of the art and works with a low dose of radiation. All mammograms are assessed independently by two radiologists (double reading).

(Preventive) mammogram screening examinations from the age of 50 as part of the cantonal programme are offered at the Praxiszentrum at the Bahnhof Bern outpatient clinic.

What happens during the examination?
The breast is positioned between the X-ray machine and the detector and then gently compressed for a few seconds with a compression plate. The more the breast is compressed, the easier it is to assess the image and the lower the radiation exposure. Two images are taken of each breast in different positions.

The mammogram itself takes a few minutes, the compression of the chest only a few seconds. The compression can cause slight but harmless pain. Please tell your radiology specialist if you feel too much pain.

How can I prepare for the examination?
If possible, you should arrange the examination within the first ten days after the start of menstruation, as the breasts are less sensitive to pressure during this period. On the day of the examination, you should not use any body lotion or deodorant. 

Is any follow-up care necessary?
As a complementary measure, additional X-rays or an ultrasound of the breasts may be necessary – this is at the discretion of the relevant radiologist or your attending doctor. Otherwise, no follow-up is necessary. 

How high is the radiation exposure?
As with any examination with X-rays, pregnancy should be excluded. The radiation exposure during a mammogram is very low. Although the possible link between a mammogram and the development of breast cancer is a frequent topic of discussion , it has not been possible to conclusively prove any link, even after conducting mammograms for decades.