Thyra M. Humphreys Center for Breast Health

I need a mammogram, now what?

There are two principal reasons a woman might schedule a mammogram:

Screening Mammogram

This is a routine mammogram. While we recommend seeing a physician to obtain an order, a screening mammogram can be self referred.

Screening mammography is an X-ray examination of the breasts in a woman who is asymptomatic (has no complaints or symptoms of breast cancer). The goal of a screening mammogram is to detect cancer when it is still too small to be felt by a woman or her physician.

Early detection of small breast cancers by screening mammography is recommended every year once they reach 40 years of age. In some instances, physicians may recommend beginning screening mammography before 40 (i.e. if the woman has a strong family history of breast cancer).

Diagnostic Mammogram

This mammogram would be related to a problem or follow-up to breast cancer. An order from your physician is necessary to perform the examination.

Diagnostic Mammography is an X-ray examination of the breast in a woman who either has a breast complaint (for example, a breast lump or nipple discharge is found during self exam) or has had an abnormality found during screening mammography.

Diagnostic mammograms are more involved than screening mammograms and are used to determine exact size and location of breast abnormalities and to image the surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. Typically, several additional views of the breast are imaged and interpreted during diagnostic mammography.

Schedule a mammogram