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A mammogram is an X-ray image of your breast. It is used to find and diagnose breast disease. A mammogram may be done if you have breast problems such as a lump, pain, or nipple discharge. A mammogram is also done as a screening test if you don’t have breast problems. It can check for breast cancers, noncancerous or benign tumors, and cysts before they can be felt.
A mammogram can’t prove that an abnormal area is cancer. But if a mammogram shows an area in your breast that may be cancer, a sample of breast tissue will be removed. This is called a biopsy. Your provider may remove the tissue by needle or during surgery. The tissue will be checked under a microscope to see if it is cancer.
A mammogram uses a low dose of radiation.
Baptist Health follows the guidelines from the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology who recommend annual screening for all women starting at age 40.
Talk with your healthcare provider to find out which screening guidelines are right for you.
If you need a physician, we can help!
Once you’ve arrived and are checked in, you will be brought back to a room to prepare for the mammogram.
You’ll have to undress above the waist to get a mammogram. The facility will give you a wrap to wear.
A technologist will position your breasts for the mammogram. You and the technologist are the only ones in the room during the mammogram.
To get a high-quality picture, your breast must be flattened. The technologist places your breast on the machine’s plate. The plastic upper plate is lowered to compress your breast for a few seconds while the technologist takes a picture.
The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes. The actual breast compression only lasts a few seconds.
You might feel some discomfort when your breasts are compressed, and for some women it can be painful. Tell the technologist if it hurts.
Two views of each breast are taken for a screening mammogram. But for some women, such as those with breast implants or large breasts, more pictures may be needed.
Mammograms may also be done with the help of a computer to make digital images. Digital mammograms are done the same way as a standard mammogram. At the Baptist Health Breast Center in Little Rock, 3-D mammograms are available. 3-D imaging makes it easier for doctors to catch breast cancer early.