What to Expect

If you’re thinking about scheduling a mammogram or already have an appointment on your calendar, you may have questions. To help prepare for your visit, get the answers to frequently asked questions about mammograms.

What to Expect with Your Mammogram

  • Do I need an order for my mammogram?

    Screening mammograms do not require an order from a referring physician. However, if you are having new breast problems, have a recent history of breast cancer or need a follow-up to a previous mammogram, an order is required from your referring physician.

  • What are the benefits of mammography?

    Screening mammograms are performed as a routine exam for detecting possible abnormalities in breasts without signs or symptoms of disease.

  • How old do I have to be to get a mammogram?

    The American College of Radiologists and Society of Breast Surgeons recommend women begin their annual breast cancer screenings at age 40.

  • How can I prepare for my mammogram?

    On the day of your mammogram, please do not use any lotions, powders or deodorant in the underarm or breast area. Because you will have to undress from the waist up, we suggest you wear a comfortable 2-piece outfit.

  • What do I need to bring with me to my appointment?

    You’ll need to bring your driver’s license and proof of insurance, if applicable. The Affordable Care Act dictates that mammograms for breast cancer screenings be given without a co-pay or deductible. If this is not your first mammogram, also bring your previous images or have them sent to the facility prior to your appointment for comparison purposes. We can help you with this process if needed.

  • Are mammograms painful?

    While we will do everything we can to ensure a painless experience, some patients find the compression of the breasts can be uncomfortable. The technologist will work with you to try to make your experience as comfortable as possible.

  • Is there a risk of radiation exposure with a mammogram?

    Mammograms do use a small amount of radiation, but special care is taken to make sure it’s the lowest amount possible. For most women, the benefits of mammography outweigh the potential risk of radiation exposure.

  • What is 3D mammography?

    3D mammography, also known as tomosynthesis, produces 3D images of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices, allowing for greater visibility of breast tissue. It can be done in conjunction with the traditional 2D mammogram. State law now requires that 3D screenings be covered by insurance in most instances. Please confirm with your insurance company regarding these benefits.

  • Am I eligible for 3D mammography?

    All women who are eligible for traditional 2D mammograms are also eligible for 3D mammography. Additionally, research has shown that 3D mammography is particularly helpful for women with dense breasts. However, we recommend that you check with your insurance provider to ensure it is covered under your plan.

  • When will I get the results of my mammogram?

    In most cases, screening mammograms are read within a few hours of your exam. Your results will be provided by email. If an email address is not provided, a paper copy will be mailed to your home.

  • What if I am called back after my mammogram?

    Screenings are meant to detect abnormalities that might exist. When abnormalities or changes in the appearance of the breast tissue are detected, additional mammography images and/or ultrasound may be required. The majority of the time, it does not mean you have breast cancer.