Screening Mammogram

Mammography screening is the only method that is consistently proven to reduce breast cancer deaths. We are the only facility in the area to be granted the distinguished Breast Imaging Center of Excellence seal.

Learn More About Screening Mammogram

Current medical guidelines recommend screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40.

Mammography is the process of using low-dose amplitude X-rays to examine the breast tissue. A board certified physician called a radiologist uses the images to detect breast cancer, ideally as early as two years before a lump can be felt. Digital mammography has become the gold-standard for breast cancer screening and is one of the most recent advances for breast cancer detection. Women’s Imaging of Radiology Associates was the first in the area to offer this technology.

If performed annually as recommended, screening mammography is the key to detecting breast cancer early and saving lives. Women 40 years of age and older with no symptoms of breast disease, should schedule their screening mammogram appointments annually. A physician referral is not required for this exam however we must have the name of your physician to send your results. If you are experiencing a worrisome lump, changes in the breast skin, nipple discharge, or if you have a personal history of breast cancer, your physician should order a more comprehensive exam, called a diagnostic mammogram.

Mammography is the only screening method that is consistently proven to reduce breast cancer deaths. In fact, it is the major reason breast cancer deaths have declined by 30% since 1990, when screening guidelines were enforced in the U.S. In addition, early detection through mammography gives women more treatment options with reduced surgery, better cosmetic outcomes, and often eliminates the need for harsh therapies. And since breast cancer found in women under age 50 is often more aggressive, it’s imperative to schedule your mammogram every 12 months.

How Should I Prepare?

Please bring a disc or films from any prior mammograms, if done at a facility other than Radiology Associates. If you would like Women’s Imaging to request these on your behalf, please fill out our medical records release form (please do so 1 month prior to your appointment – it could take up to 3 weeks to obtain films from out of state).

On the day of the examination, do not wear talcum powder, deodorant, lotion or perfume under your arms or on your breasts. These substances can cause artifacts on your mammogram making the images harder to interpret. Deodorant will be available to you after your exam.

Wear two-piece clothing so that you only have to remove your top and bra for the examination.

To help minimize discomfort during your exam, schedule your mammogram during the two weeks following your menstrual cycle (when breasts are less tender). Also have a caffeine-free diet for several days before the exam.

Please bring any pertinent history to your appointment: prior surgeries, hormone use, family or personal history of breast cancer.

When Will I Receive Results?

Screening mammography results will be sent to you and your physician within two weeks. If you are called back for additional mammographic views, do not be alarmed. Often times more views are needed in order to make an accurate diagnosis. If this is the case a member of our staff will contact you personally to discuss the recommended next step. This is called a diagnostic mammogram.

If you have had a previous mammogram at a facility other than Radiology Associates, please let us know so that we may obtain these films. It is extremely important for the radiologist to have your prior films for comparison, as it enhances the doctor’s ability to detect a subtle change or small abnormality on your current mammogram. Availability of prior films at your appointment also decreases the length of time it takes for you to get your results.

Please contact us if for some reason you have not gotten the results of your mammogram.

Make an Appointment

If you’d like to make an appointment, click here or call 850-878-6104. You do not need a referral from your primary care physician for a screening mammogram. However, we do require that you provide a physician’s name, so that we may send a copy of your results.

What Should I Expect?

Before your mammogram, you will be asked to cleanse your breasts and underarm area so that it is free of any deodorants, body powders, perfumes or body lotions. Particles from those materials may mimic calcifications on the images, so this cleansing is extremely important for accurate imaging.

A nationally certified female mammographer will position your breasts in the specially designed x-ray unit one at a time. This specially designed mammography equipment will include a platform for compression. This compression is a necessary action with mammogram.

Benefits/Risks

Accuracy
Mammography is the best screening tool for breast cancer available today, however, mammograms do not detect all breast cancers. A breast finding of concern should never be ignored despite a normal mammogram. If you notice any new changes in your breast(s) you should bring them to your health care provider’s attention promptly.

Additional Testing

Approximately 10% of women are called back from screening mammograms for additional testing (also called a diagnostic mammogram). This percentage is slightly higher for women 40-49 years of age, but advances in technology – like digital mammography – have improved sensitivity in younger women. Most diagnostic mammograms conclude with normal results, but it is necessary in order to complete the mammographic evaluation and make an accurate diagnosis. In some cases a biopsy or follow-up test in 6 months may be advised.

Radiation Dose
Strict guidelines ensure that mammogram equipment is safe and uses the lowest dose of radiation possible. Many people are concerned about the exposure to x-rays, but the level of radiation used in modern mammograms is very low and does not significantly increase the risk for breast cancer. And because of digital mammography advances, radiation dose is actually lower than traditional film mammography. The amount of radiation can be compared to an airplane flight of a few hours due to the thinner atmosphere.