Breast Cancer Team

All About Mammography

What is a mammography?

Mammography is an X-ray of your breasts. It helps find breast cancer and other
breast problems.

  • Lumps that may be cancer (most are not!)
  • Breast changes that could lead to cancer
  • Breast lumps before you or your health-care provider can feel them
  • Once by age 40
  • Every 1-2 years between ages 40 and 49
  • Every year after age 50

What's a good time to have a mammography?

  • Try to pick a day of the month when your breasts are not tender.

Helpful Information:

 • You must have a prescription from your referring physician.

• If your prior films were not taken at this facility, make sure you have them the day of the exam.

• Do not wear deodorant or powder. This can show up on your films.

• Screening mammograms are read approximately 1-2 weeks after your exam. Diagnostic mammograms are read while you wait.

Details about a mammography:

• You will undress above the waist. The technologist will give you a gown and take your prior history. Then you will be positioned at the mammography machine.

• Your breast will be compressed between 2 plastic plates. You may feel a little discomfort for a few seconds.

• X-rays will be taken. One will be taken from the top. Then one will be taken from the side. Your other breast will be X-rayed the same way.

Benefits:

  • Early treatment saves lives.
  • Mammograms often find breast cancer very early. This means:
    • a much better chance of cure
    • more ways to treat the cancer

Risks:

  • Mammography uses very low radiation. Radiation carries a small risk of causing cancer. Still mammography is now safer than ever.

Ask your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of mammography.

We encourage you to take charge of your health. Please do not put off your mammogram!