Uptake is crucial to reducing breast cancer mortality through screening. This review synthesised all available evidence on mammography pain as a deterrent to subsequent breast screening. Ten databases were searched. Studies containing empirical data relating mammography pain to breast screening re-attendance were included (n = 20). In the most robust studies asking women why they had not re-attended, 25%–46% cited pain, equivalent to approximately 47,000–87,000 women per year in England. The most robust evidence for an association between pain experienced at a previous mammogram and subsequent rates of re-attendance suggests that women who previously experienced pain are more likely than those who did not to fail to re-attend: RR 1.34 (95% CI: 0.94–1.91). The complexity of the pain phenomenon and of screening behaviours must be recognised. However, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that painful mammography contributes to non-re-attendance. Given the importance of cumulative participation, effective pain-reducing interventions in mammography are needed.