What happens at the Assessment Clinic

4 in 100 women are called back for a second visit. This is because the result suggests that further tests are needed. This does not necessarily mean there is something wrong - 3 out of 4 women recalled are given normal results following these additional tests.

Possible reasons for second stage screening

checking the mammogram
  • Assymetry of tissue - asymmetric breast tissue refers to a greater volume or density of breast tissue in one breast than in the corresponding area in the other breast. This is usually a normal finding.
  • Overlapping breast tissue caused by the compression during the mammogram
  • Benign (non cancerous) areas that require further investigation
  • Small flecks of calcium (micro-calcification) - this is usually associated with cysts and fibrosis. However, it can also be associated with a non-invasive type of breast cancer.
  • Suspicious areas of distortion that can be a sign of early breast cancer.

Possible further investigations


Further mammograms may be required, this may only be necessary on one breast.

Ultrasound (sonography)

This is a painless procedure that involves sound waves to create an image of your breast. Water based gel is applied to your breast and an instrument like a microphone is moved over your breast.

Fine Needle Aspiration

This is a test in which some cells are removed from your breast using a fine needle. The cells are examined under the microscope. Unfortunately there may be some bruising afterwards.

Core Biopsy

A small core of tissue (the size of a pencil lead) is removed using a special needle and a local anaesthetic. This can be done under ultrasound or x-ray (mammogram) guidance. You may experience some bruising afterwards.