What is a Screening Mammogram?
A screening mammogram is a routine exam for women who have no sign or symptoms of breast disease. Digital mammography uses x-ray to make an image of the breast. A screening mammogram will take views of both breasts for a radiologist to interpret. Women do not need a written referral from a health care provider to have a screening mammogram; however, they do need to have a provider of record for the report to be sent to. Learn more about our 3D mammography technology.
Screening Guidelines: Early Detection is Key
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and affects one in every eight women in the U.S. The Carol Milgard Breast Center and TRA Medical Imaging advise women to get screening mammograms every year starting at age 40. The goal of screening exams for early breast cancer detection is to identify breast abnormalities as early as possible. If breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options and a better chance for survival. Women whose breast cancer is detected at an early stage have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years. Learn more about breast cancer screening guidelines.
Starting in their 20s, women should begin regular breast self-examinations to understand what looks and feels normal for their breasts, and should also start to receive regular clinical breast exams by a health care provider.
All screening mammograms at the breast center are performed in private suites by female technologists.
What to Expect
Please plan to be in the breast center for about 30 minutes to complete your appointment. Although the imaging exam itself is quick, we want to allow time to answer any questions you may have and to update your paperwork.
A certified mammography technologist will conduct your exam. A typical screening mammogram consists of multiple views each breast, from above and from the side. Images are obtained by firmly and briefly pressing the breast tissue between a compression paddle and a plate. Adequate compression is essential to detect subtle abnormalities.
About one in 10 women who get a screening mammogram will be called back for additional imaging, such as a diagnostic mammogram and/or breast ultrasound. This does not necessarily indicate a problem, only that additional images are required to determine if further action is needed.
Some women experience minor discomfort during a mammogram. Others experience no discomfort at all. If you have questions or are curious about your exam, do not hesitate to ask the technologist. It’s important that you are informed.
What Do I Need To Do Before My Exam?
Please wear a comfortable, loose fitting two-piece outfit as you will be asked to remove your top prior to the exam. A soft robe will be provided for your comfort. Please refrain from wearing any powder, perfumes, deodorant and/or lotions on your underarms and breasts as they can interfere with the images. A moist towelette will be provided if you need it and deodorant will be supplied to you after your exam. The best way to reduce discomfort is to schedule your exam a week after your menstrual cycle and take a non-aspirin pain reliever (such as Tylenol, Advil or Aleve) an hour before your exam.
How and When Will I Learn About My Results?
One of the breast center’s board-certified radiologists who specializes in breast imaging will interpret your mammogram. A report will be finalized within 24 hours and then sent to your referring provider. A results letter will also be mailed to you. Should your mammogram results recommend further imaging, the breast center will call you 1-2 days following your screening exam to schedule a diagnostic mammogram or breast ultrasound.
Under the 21st Century Cures Act, we are required by law to provide you access to your results within 24 hours of them being finalized. Unfortunately, this means you could receive your results prior to receiving communication from our team.
If you have questions about your exam results at the Carol Milgard Breast Center, please contact your personal physician or health care provider rather than the breast center.
Mammography Q & As
For more details about mammograms, please visit Mammography Q&As.
The Carol Milgard Breast Center is fully accredited in mammography by the American College of Radiology (ACR). The ACR only grants the gold seal of accreditation when a breast center provides patients the highest level of image quality and patient safety.