Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Luxembourg)

Diagnostic mammography
18 March 2023 by
Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Luxembourg)
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Originating in the United States, "Pink October" is a tradition that has been going on for over 28 years. The symbol of this event is the pink ribbon, pink, a feminine, soft, joyful colour that evokes good health. The aim of this international campaign is to raise women's awareness of breast cancer screening.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and the leading cause of cancer-related death among women. In Luxembourg, the disease affects more than 450 women every year.

Screening for breast cancer at an early stage enables the least invasive surgery possible to be performed, and treatment and its side-effects to be limited. Breast cancers show few clinical signs during the early stages of their development, which is why screening enables abnormalities to be detected before clinical signs appear.


The examination is the same, but it is not carried out in the same context.

  • Diagnostic mammography is carried out when your gynaecologist or family doctor requests it by simple prescription, either for simple follow-up or when an abnormality is suspected. In this case, in addition to the mammogram, the examination will include images focused on the suspected area(s), an ultrasound scan and possibly a biopsy.
  • Screening mammography is the gold standard for detecting breast cancer, particularly at an early stage, even if there are no symptoms. It is generally carried out as part of the national mammography screening programme.

Diagnostic mammography

It is important to have regular check-ups with your GP or gynaecologist. This regular consultation enables your doctor to monitor the appearance of any malignant or benign breast or gynaecological disease.

From the age of 40, women are offered a mammogram as a first screening test for breast cancer. This is based on a mammogram, possibly supplemented by an ultrasound or MRI scan, depending on the patient's history (history of breast cancer in the family, genetic mutation, major risk factors, etc...).

Screening mammography organised by the Mammography Programme (Ministry of Health)

In Luxembourg, the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the CNS, has been organising national screening for breast cancer by mammography since 1992. From the age of 50, an invitation is sent every 2 years to every woman aged between 50 and 70 (the period when the risk of breast cancer is highest in women) who is affiliated to the CNS. The patient can choose the approved radiology centre that suits her best for her mammogram.


  • Women aged between 50 and 70


  • CHL Senology Unit or an approved radiology centre


  • Every 2 years


  • By telephone : +352 4411-7360
  • Via the service page
  • By e-mail :
  • By visiting the service

Screening mammography

Each patient undergoes a screening mammogram consisting of 4 images. This provides an overall view of the breast in several spatial planes. Mammography can detect micro-calcifications that cannot be seen on ultrasound. While it is not possible to prevent the appearance of a cancerous tumour, it is possible to detect it at an early stage, i.e. for tumours just a few millimetres in size. The less aggressive the tumour, the greater the chances of recovery.

Results of a screening mammogram (Ministry of Health)

The images are analysed by 2 radiologists (the mammography department radiologist and the Mammography Programme radiologist), in what is known as a "double reading".

The results are sent to the gynaecologist or doctor of the patient's choice, and to the patient in the language of her choice (German, French, Portuguese and English).

A normal result 1 means that the mammogram shows no abnormality and that no further examination is recommended. However, an annual clinical examination remains advisable, during a regular consultation.

An abnormal result means that an abnormality has been detected by the radiologists. This is the case for around 5% of mammograms performed. In this case, further tests are required to identify the abnormality. This usually involves additional x-rays, ultrasound, MRI or even a biopsy.

1. > prevention > cancer-sein-depistage


How often should I have a mammogram?

  • After the age of 50, mammography is the gold standard for breast cancer screening. Women aged between 50 and 70 are advised to have a mammogram every two years.
  • doctor will decide how often you should have a mammogram.

Why can't I have an ultrasound instead of a mammogram?

  • Mammography is the first-line examination that allows the entire mammary gland to be viewed in order to look for abnormalities such as opacities or microcalcifications that cannot be seen on ultrasound. Ultrasound is recommended in cases of dense breast tissue, which is very common in young or post-menopausal women undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Ultrasound can determine whether a lesion detected on mammography is liquid or solid, a valuable tool in distinguishing between benign and malignant lesions.

Are X-rays dangerous to health?

  • Like all X-rays, mammography uses X-rays. Repeated exposure can, in rare cases, lead to the development of cancer. The quantity of X-rays delivered during a mammogram is very low because mammography machines are micro-dosed and the risk of cancer is very low in the age group covered by organised screening.

Why do I need to compress my breasts, it hurts?

  • Breast compression during mammography is adapted to how the patient feels. It reduces the thickness of the breast and therefore the dose of X-rays. It also allows the mammary gland to be spread out so that overlapping structures can be seen more clearly.

I have prostheses, can I have a mammogram?

  • There is no risk of damage or rupture to breast implants during mammography. Breast implants are made of shock-resistant materials.
  • ​6 images are taken, including 2 images using the Eklund technique. This manoeuvre involves pushing the prosthesis back to give a better view of the mammary gland. This technique is painless and does not harm the prosthesis.

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