Frequently asked questions

In this section you will find answers to some commonly asked questions about breast cancer in relation to breast screening.  

Click on the questions below to see the answers.  Please note some questions will take you to a different webpage.

MRT assessmentBreastScreen Counties Manukau (BSCM)

More FAQs are available on the BreastScreen Aotearoa website.


Why should I choose to have mammograms through the BreastScreen Aotearoa programme?

  • BreastScreen Aotearoa is FREE
  • The programme has very strict quality standards that are continuously monitored
  • BreastScreen Counties Manukau has the latest in digital mammography technology  
  • Our clinical staff are all fully accredited and highly professional
  • All mammogram images are read by at least two radiologists, which maximises the chances of finding any abnormality within your breasts
  • We constantly strive to improve our service and aim to be as fast and convenient as possible
  • Our staff are friendly, professional and culturally sensitive.

How do I join BreastScreen Counties Manukau?

You can ring our freephone number 0800 270 200 or ask your doctor (GP) to make a referral or register online through the BreastScreen Aotearoa website.

The programme is free, but how free is free?

Mammograms, and any follow-up testing needed are free to women in the eligible age range who have joined the programme. However, if treatment such as surgery is necessary this is free in the public health system only. Also, if you feel the need to see your GP about any issues to do with breast health while you are in the programme, this visit is not free as it is not part of the programme.

How do I make an appointment?

Call us on 09 250 8000 or free phone number 0800 270 200.

Once you have enrolled on the programme, you will recieve an invite every two years so please let us know if you contact details change.

What if English is not my first language - how can I get the information explained?

We can book an interpreter for you or you can bring a family member who speaks English so they are able to interpret for you.  To book an appointment, phone

  • Mandarin speaker Lucy 09 250 8085
  • Cantonese speaker Alexandra 09 250 4581
  • Samoan speaker Lisi 09 250 4589
  • Tongan speaker Salome 09 250 4561
  • Hindi speaker Yolanda 09 250 4584

Can I choose where and when to have my appointment?

We have a number of locations in Manukau, Botany, Howick, Mangere and Pukekohe.  Click here to view

We also have a mobile screening unit which visits Highland Park, Pakuranga, Beachlands, Papakura, Papatoetoe, Pukekohe, Waiuku, Tuakau, Mangere East and Otara.  Click here to view timetable.

Can I bring a support person with me?

Yes, you can bring a friend or family member to support you.  However, they are not able to in the room with you during the actual procedure.

How long does it take?

The visit should take 20 - 30 minutes.

Do I have to take my clothes off?

You will need to take off your top or shirt so it is easier to wear a top and trousers or skirt for your appointment.  We also have gowns available for you to wear during the procedure.  Our radiographers (MRTs) are all women and will respect your privacy.

When will I get my results?

The results will be sent directly to you.  At least two radiologists check x-ray images. If there is no evidence of breast cancer, you will receive a letter in the mail within two weeks.   

If there is anything that the doctors want to check, you will receive a phone call from our nurse to ask you to come to Manukau SuperClinic for assessment and extra tests.  This appointment is free. Most women recalled for further checks will not have cancer.

What if they find something on my mammogram?

Some women will be contacted for a second appointment for further checking.  The doctor may wish to check further so one of our Breast Care Nurses will call you and book an appointment for you to come to Manukau SuperClinic. This appointment will also be free.  This will involve some extra tests, such as more x-rays, ultrasound and possibly the taking of a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope. 

Most women recalled for further checks will not have cancer.

What if I am already with a private provider?

If you are eligible, you can join the BreastScreen Aotearoa programme and be screened every two years for free. You can continue to have mammograms through your private provider every other year, i.e. alternate each year between BSA and your private provider.

What should I do if I notice a change in my breast?

If you have a lump you should see your GP to get it checked. Do not wait to have a screening mammogram. Screening is for women who do not have a breast problem.

All breasts have areas of lumpiness that fluctuate with the menstrual cycle.

In younger women: most lumps have a hormonal basis, so if any lump persists after one menstrual cycle if should be examined by your doctor.

In older women new lumps should be investigated straightaway by your GP. 

Freephone 0800 270 200