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Second stage screening

Around one in every 20 women who attend for breast screening will be asked to come back for a second visit. This appointment is for more detailed tests.

Most women who are called back will not have any problems and these further tests will enable us to confirm a normal result.

Your second assessment will take place at the Breast Imaging Unit at York Hospital's Magnolia Centre.

If you are taking any medication to thin your blood (e.g. Warfarin, Apixaban, Dabigatran, or Rivaroxaban), please check your INR within the 48 hours before your clinic appointment. This is in case you need a biopsy.

Remember, most women who are called back will not have breast cancer.

Useful reading: Second stage breast screening leaflet for patients.

What can I expect during my visit?

When you arrive at the unit, the receptionist will show you where to wait. A healthcare professional will then explain the process to you.

If you would like to bring a friend or relative with you, please feel free to do so.

You will see a consultant radiologist or a consultant radiographer who will look at your X-rays and carry out further tests as appropriate. 

You will be asked to undress to the waist when you are having your tests, so it's a good idea to wear a separate top (that can be easily removed) and bottoms.

How long will I be at the clinic?

We advise you to allow up to four hours for your visit as it will depend entirely on the number of tests you need to have done. When all your tests are completed, you will also see the specialist nurse to discuss your results.

What tests will be done?

Each patient is different so it's not possible to say for certain which tests you will have. You may have one or a combination of the following.

Further mammograms

More X-rays may be taken from a different angle or just one part of the breast. This will help the radiologist decide if more tests are needed.


Digital breast tomosynthesis makes a three-dimensional (3D) image of the breast. It takes multiple pictures of your breast from more angles than a standard mammogram, creating a more detailed image.

Ultrasound examination

Some women will have an ultrasound examination. This test uses sound waves instead of X-rays to produce another picture of the inside of your breast.

Clinical examination

This means having a close and careful look at your breasts and feeling for any changes.


Some women will need a further test to take a tissue sample from the breast. This is called a biopsy. 

If this is needed, the test can be carried out whilst you are in the clinic, using local anaesthetic. Your results will not be available on the same day, however. On the day, we will discuss when and how you will receive your results.

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