This pilot study aimed to investigate whether mammographic compression procedures might cause shedding of tumor cells into the circulatory system as reflected by circulating tumor cell (CTC) count in peripheral venous blood samples. From March to October 2012, 24 subjects with strong suspicion of breast malignancy were included in the study. Peripheral blood samples were acquired before and after mammography. Enumeration of CTCs in the blood samples was performed using the CellSearch(®) system. The pressure distribution over the tumor-containing breast was measured using thin pressure sensors. The median age was 66.5 years (range, 51-87 years). In 22 of the 24 subjects, breast cancer was subsequently confirmed. The difference between the average mean tumor pressure 6.8 ± 5.3 kPa (range, 1.0-22.5 kPa) and the average mean breast pressure 3.4 ± 1.6 kPa (range, 1.5-7.1 kPa) was statistically significant (p < 0.001), confirming that there was increased pressure over the tumor. The median pathological tumor size was 19 mm (range, 9-30 mm). Four subjects (17 %) were CTC positive before compression and two of these (8 %) were also CTC positive after compression. A total of seven CTCs were isolated with a mean size of 8 × 6 μm(2) (range of the longest diameter, 5-12 μm). The study supports the view that mammography is a safe procedure from the point of view of tumor cell shedding to the peripheral blood.