Mammography

clock97 Typical Length of Exam:
Approximately 45 minutes. Breast implants require more images and will require additional time. Please notify Radiology Associates when booking if you have implants.
tshirt17 Dress Requirements:
On the day of the exam, please wash off all deodorants, perfumes, powders and/or lotions under the arms and across the chest.
Wear loose comfortable clothing that can be removed from the waist up.
Examination gowns are provided.
drugs5 Medication and Dietary Requirements:
No special preparations are necessary.
pregnancy SPECIAL ALERT:
Be sure to tell your doctor or the technologist before the procedure if you are pregnant or believe you could be pregnant. This test is not usually performed during pregnancy.
medical80What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the soft tissues inside the breast. Mammograms require very small doses of radiation. The risk of harm from this radiation exposure is extremely low. The benefits of mammography almost always outweigh the potential harm from the very small amount of radiation.

What are mammograms used for? 
There are two type of mammograms:

  1. Screening Mammogram
    Mammograms can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. This type of mammogram is called a screening mammogram. Screening mammograms usually involve two X-ray pictures, or images, of each breast. The X-ray images make it possible to detect tumours that cannot be felt. Screening mammograms can also find microcalcifications (tiny deposits of calcium) that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer.
  2. Diagnostic Mammogram
    Mammograms can also be used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease has been found. This type of mammogram is called a diagnostic mammogram. Besides a lump, signs of breast cancer can include breast pain, thickening of the skin of the breast, nipple discharge or a change in breast shape or size. These changes can also be caused by benign conditions. A diagnostic mammogram can also be used to evaluate changes found during a screening mammogram, or to view breast tissue when it is difficult to obtain a screening mammogram because of special circumstances, such as the presence of breast implants.

What to expect:
You will be asked to remove your clothes from the waist up and will be given a gown to wear. You may find it easier to wear a blouse or shirt with pants or a skirt. X-rays will be taken of your breasts. To get a clear picture, your breast will be squeezed. This can cause some discomfort but is not harmful. Usually, two X-rays are taken of each breast, one from the side and one from the top.

After you have completed your mammogram at Radiology Associates, a radiologist will review your images and compare them to any previous images that are available. The radiologist will then issue a report to your referring doctor. Sometimes the radiologist will ask for additional images for clarification or occasionally will ask for an ultrasound. This may happen on the same day as your initial mammogram or you may be asked to come back on another day for these additional images.

 

Who should have a screening mammogram?
Screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74 or in younger women who have a strong family history of breast cancer. Screening recommendations are as follows:

  • For women < 40 years old: No routine screening. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about your risk and screening options.
  • For women 40-49 years old: screening mammogram every year.
  • For women 50-74 years old: screening mammogram every 2 years.
  • For women 75 years or older: screening mammogram every 2-3 years if desired.