The Screening Mammography Program (SMP) was established through the BC Cancer Agency to reduce breast cancer mortality through early detection (the SMP website can be accessed here). It is recommended that women aged 40 to 79 with no signs of a breast problem (such as lumps, nipple discharge, etc.) have a screening mammogram at least every two years.
To book an appointment, please call 604-775-0022. If outside of Greater Vancouver, call (toll free) 1-800-663-9203. Please have your Care Card number available. At the time of your visit we will need the name and contact information of your family physician. If you do not have a family physician, please let our booking clerks know when you call to make your appointment. To search for a physician, you can access the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC Directory by clicking here.
Where we are located:
The Screening Mammography Program is located within BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre - 4500 Oak Street in Vancouver; however, it is best to use the entrance off of Heather Street and West 29th Avenue. For more detail, download a map here. Please make note of Entrance 77, which is the main entrance to the Women's Health Centre.
If these directions are not sufficient, please call us at 604-775-0022.
On the day of your appointment
Please wear a two-piece outfit (you will be asked to undress from the waist up).
Do not use deodorant, talcum powder, creams or lotions on your breasts or underarms. These products leave a residue that can make it difficult to read your mammogram.
Please do not wear perfume.
Please check in at reception, you will be asked to complete a short health form - the form helps us assess your current health status.
The mammogram is done in complete privacy. The Mammography Technologist will take two x-rays of each breast (4 x-rays in total) - one view from top to bottom and the other view from side-to-side. Your breast will be compressed by a plastic plate as the x-ray is taken.
Compression of the breast with a plastic plate allows us to get the best possible image with the least amount of radiation. Compression may be uncomfortable but it only lasts for a few seconds and is not harmful to the breast. Tip: For sensitive breasts: schedule the mammogram when your breasts are least sensitive (e.g. 10 days after your period), or consider taking an over-the-counter pain relief pill about an hour before the exam. Some women find caffeine increases breast sensitivity.
The technologist is available throughout the exam to answer any of your questions.