Digital Mammography Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What is a Digital Mammogram?

A digital mammogram is a low-dose X-ray exam of the breast that aids in the early detection of breast cancer. It provides incredibly sharp, clear images that are instantly seen by the technologist to ensure a high quality picture. Careful study is made of each image including the use of Computer Aided Detection.


Why should I get a mammogram?

1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. A mammogram is the primary screening exam to catch breast cancer early. Early detection is key to improve survival rates. The American Cancer Society recommends women to get a baseline mammogram between 35-40 years of age and annually after 40.


Why do you need my previous mammogram?

Comparing your exam with previous studies helps the radiologist spot early changes within your breast. By comparing to the prior year ensures the radiologist has the best information available when interpreting your exam.


What can I expect during a mammogram?

A screening mammogram normally takes less than 20 minutes. You will be shown to a private room where the technologist will explain the exam and take a brief history. You will be asked to undress from the waist up and put on a patient gown. The technologist will then work with you to obtain a series of quality images.


How do I prepare for my exam?

  • Wear a two piece outfit to easily remove clothing from the waist up.
  • Do not wear lotion, powder or deodorant. These may cause artifacts on the images.
  • Try to schedule an appointment at the end of your menstrual cycle when your breasts are less sensitive.
  • If you have sensitive breasts consider taking an over-the-counter pain reliever an hour before your exam, but avoid aspirin products.
  • If you have had a previous mammogram at another facility please ask them to send us your most recent images and report.

Will my mammogram be painful?

Many women get mammograms yearly without experiencing pain and discomfort. If you normally experience increased tenderness during or around your menstrual cycle, we recommend you schedule your exam when your tenderness is gone. Hormones and caffeine can increase discomfort during your exam.


How do I obtain my results?

Screening mammography results will be mailed to you and your ordering physician. While we are required to give screening mammography results within 30 days, every effort is made to mail results within 10 days.
If the mammography department has to obtain prior images from another facility for comparison value, the results may be delayed.

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