Breast screening

BreastScreen Aotearoa is a free national breast screening programme that checks women between 45 and 69 years for early breast cancer. The programme aims to reduce the number of women who die from breast cancer.

In Hawke’s Bay the programme is managed by a regional provider, BreastScreen Coast to Coast.

You can have a free screening mammogram every two years through the BreastScreen Aotearoa programme if you:

How do I enrol in the programme or book an appointment?

There are several ways to enrol in the programme and book a mammogram appointment:

  • Freephone BreastScreen Coast to Coast on 0800 270 200
  • Enrol when you visit your GP. Your GP may also send you a letter to advise that you may be eligible to join the BreastScreen Aotearoa programme.
  • Enrol online at the BreastScreen Aotearoa website
  • If you have been previously screened by BreastScreen Aotearoa you will receive a letter inviting you for another mammogram when you are due.

Where do I go for my mammogram appointment?

Once you’re enrolled you can make an appointment on 0800 270 200. Eligible women in Hawke’s Bay can have their free mammogram at one of two TRG Imaging locations: 

There are also mobile breast screening units servicing towns, suburbs and regions. Click here to view the schedule and call 0800 270 200 to book an appointment.

What is a mammogram?

Mammograms are breast x-rays which can show changes in the breast before anything can be seen or felt. In most cases the changes will not be cancer.

At your appointment, you will be asked to fill in a form. You will remove your upper clothing in a private changing area, and put on a wrap ready for the x-ray.

In the x-ray room, an experienced staff member will show you where to place each breast, one at a time, on or against the x-ray plate.

To get a high quality x-ray, your breast must be made flatter. This is done by the x-ray machine firmly but gently squeezing your breast between two plates. This can be uncomfortable, but it only lasts a few seconds, and it is important.

A mammogram:

  • can detect breast cancer early, which means a very good chance of successful treatment 
  • are particularly effective in women 50 years and over who have mammograms every two years 
  • can detect about 75% of unsuspected cancers in women under 50, and 85% in women over 50 
  • cannot prevent you getting breast cancer and cannot always prevent death from breast cancer.

What else can I do to check my breasts?

Some breast cancers develop during the time between screening mammograms, so it is important that you are breast aware. If you notice any breast symptoms (changes that are not normal for you), see your doctor as soon as possible.

Symptoms could include:

  • a new lump or thickening
  • a change in breast shape or size
  • pain in the breast that is unusual
  • puckering or dimpling of the skin
  • any change in one nipple, such as a turned-in nipple or a discharge that occurs without squeezing
  • a rash or reddening of the skin that appears only on the breast.