DIY mammograms turn out to be less painful

Women compressed their own breasts a little bit more than radiologists did, say researchers

There are many reasons women dislike mammograms, chief among them the awkward and often painful process of having their breasts squashed by a technician into a machine that flattens them for the images.

But a trial in France suggests that breast cancer screening might be just as effective and less unpleasant when women can control the compression device themselves.

Two things can go wrong when the breast isn't compressed enough in the mammogram machine.

Either healthy tissues overlap in ways that make it appear as if there are potentially cancerous abnormalities and women receive unnecessary invasive follow-up tests, or a real tumour is hidden behind healthy tissue and goes undetected.

"Our study did not report any decrease in image quality when self-compression was performed," says lead study author Dr Philippe Henrot, from the Institut de Cancerologie de Lorraine Alexis Vautrin in Vandoeuvre-les