Firm breast compression during film-screen mammography is necessary to achieve optimum image quality while minimizing radiation dose. Of 374 women who fully completed a questionnaire following mammography, 225 (60%) reported no pain, 115 (31%) moderate pain and only 3 (1%) reported severe pain. Only one patient stated that the pain from the procedure would prevent her from having a further mammogram. Underlying breast disease (usually fibrocystic disease) is associated with a greater incidence and severity of breast pain, but, no relationship has been demonstrated with regards to the patient's age, hormonal status, menstruation or caffeine intake. The high level of acceptance of firm compression by women in our study indicates that undue concern regarding patient discomfort should not deter people from referral for mammography or from the application of firm compression.