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Mammograms, 3D Mammograms & Breast Imaging

If you need a mammogram, you’re in good hands with the experts at Banner Health. Imaging tests are part of our comprehensive care and are used to help our staff get a complete understanding of your condition for better treatment options. 

Need to schedule a mammogram? Find a Banner Health breast center near you

What Is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is a type of breast imaging that uses a specialized X-ray to create a picture of the breast. Mammograms are considered the standard for breast cancer screening and are essential to a woman’s health.

What is a 3D Mammogram? 

In addition to traditional mammogram images, Banner Health offers 3D mammography. This type of mammogram screening creates a three-dimensional image of the breast and works like a CT scan. A 3D mammogram offers a more comprehensive view of the breast tissue and provides doctors with a more detailed view. 3D mammography can detect up to 60 percent more invasive cancers than conventional digital mammography. Talk to your doctor to determine which type of mammography is right for you.

When Is a Mammogram Used?

Mammograms are used for early detection of any abnormalities, like tumors, in the breasts. These medical imaging tests can be used either for screening or to evaluate a breast lump. While there is no ideal age to start screening for breast cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends women of average risk begin getting annual mammograms at age 40. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors to decide when a mammography imaging screening is right for you. 

How Do I Prepare for a Mammogram?

If you’ve noticed any changes in your breasts or have any concerns, talk to your doctor before scheduling a mammogram. Women ages 40 and over who want to schedule a routine mammogram, do not need to talk with their doctor beforehand. For all mammogram prep, we recommend:

  • Avoid using deodorant, antiperspirants, lotions, creams, powders or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts on the day of your mammogram
  • Schedule your mammogram during a time when breasts will not be tender. For most women, the best time to schedule is the week after their period
  • If you’ve had a mammogram before or are going to a new facility, bring any prior mammogram images to your appointment
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication if you find that having a mammogram is uncomfortable or painful
  • Remember to always inform your doctor or X-ray technician if you are or might be pregnant

What Can I Expect from a Mammogram?

Before the mammogram, you’ll be asked to undress from the waist up and remove any jewelry. For the procedure, you’ll stand in front of an X-ray machine that is specifically designed for mammograms. The technologist will place one of your breasts on a platform that is raised to match your height.

Once the technologist has positioned you correctly in front of the machine, your breast will be pressed against the platform with a clear plastic plate. This plate helps spread the breast tissue out to an even thickness to decrease movement and minimize the dose of radiation to produce a clear image. The plate will cause pressure on your breast for the duration of the X-ray. Alert your technologist if there is too much discomfort or pain. You may be asked to hold your breath or stand still during the procedure.

A mammogram typically takes about 30 minutes. You can resume normal activities immediately after a mammogram.

In case of an abnormal mammogram, you may be required to follow up with a diagnostic mammogram. Compared to traditional screening mammograms, diagnostic mammograms provide a more detailed image of the breast for your doctors to analyze.

Mammograms are generally considered safe for women. However, some of the risks associated with mammograms include:

  • Exposure to low-dose radiation
  • Possible inaccuracies in the results
  • Difficulty interpreting results for younger women
  • A missed cancer diagnosis as not all cancers can be detected by mammograms
  • Finding tumors that cannot be cured, grow rapidly, and spread to the rest of your body

Where Can I Get a Mammogram?

Quality is important for mammograms – ensure the facility where you are getting your mammogram is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). All Banner Imaging locations are ACR accredited mammogram locations and offer comfortable amenities and convenient hours. Banner’s certified staff is always ready to help. Let us know if you have any questions during any stage of your mammogram procedure. Find a Banner Health breast center near you

Helpful Reads On Our Blog About Breast Health and Mammograms

Find an Imaging Location Near You

Whatever your need, your doctor can refer you to one of our conveniently located free-standing imaging centers or one of our hospitals.