Skip to main content

Breast cancer screening or mammography

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among Finnish women. About 5000 women get breast cancer each year.

Breast cancer screening, or mammography, can detect breast cancer at an early stage. About a quarter of cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in a screening study. Breast cancer screening is based on mammography – an x-ray exam of the breasts.

In Finland, municipalities organize free screening every other year for women aged 50-69. Screening invitations are sent to women at their homes.

Breast cancer screening


You receive the invitation at home by post.

If the time is not convenient, you can change it by phone or online.

The invitation cannot be sent to persons with a non-disclosure for personal safety. If this is the case, you should contact the screening implementer yourself.


Breast cancer screening or mammography is a breast x-ray examination where the breasts are compressed between two plates and x-rays are taken from one or more directions.


Two radiologists examine the x-ray images.


If the result is normal, you will be informed by post.


If there are any abnormalities that show up in the x-rays, you will be invited by phone or post to come for follow-up tests.

About three people in a hundred are invited for follow-up testing. Usually, the abnormality is benign in people invited for follow-up tests and no other measures are required.

The follow-up tests include taking more mammograms, ultrasound imaging, draining fluid-filled cysts and imaging (pneumocystography), imaging of a milk duct from which there is discharge using a contrast agent (ductography), and fine needle biopsy (cellular biopsy) and core needle biopsy (tissue sample) or a combination of the two.


If follow-up tests fail to rule out the possibility of cancer, you will be referred for a hospital surgical procedure to finally determine the type of tumour. About 20 per cent of people sent for such follow-up testing are found to have breast cancer.