Screening Digital Mammography- About the Exam

Screening mammograms are for women who have no symptoms. That means no lumps or any other breast problem.

Screening digital mammography is the only screening method that is consistently proven to reduce breast cancer deaths by detecting cancer in its early stages when treatment can result in cure. Starting at age 40, women should have a screening mammogram every year; including women with no family history of breast cancer. Mountain Medical offers digital screening mammography including a mobile screening mammography option to detect early signs of breast cancer.

Digital mammography is a system in which the x-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert x-rays into electrical signals. These detectors are similar to those found in digital cameras. The electrical signals are used to produce images of the breasts that can be seen on a computer screen or printed on special film similar to compare to mammograms you may have had in the past.

Digital mammography can improve detection of breast cancer in some women. The digital technology available through digital mammography allows for more computerized analysis of a breast exam than was possible with film mammography. Digital mammography also benefits younger women with dense breast tissue, which makes it harder to detect tumors.

Women with a family history of breast cancer should consult with their physician about starting to get an annual screening mammogram earlier than 40. Women with a mother or sister who was diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause should start their yearly mammogram screening ten years earlier than the age at which they were diagnosed.

 

What you can expect during a screening digital mammogram:

  • Your technologist will position your breast in the mammography unit.
  • Your breast will be placed on a special platform and compressed with a paddle.
  • You will feel slight pressure on your breast as it is squeezed by the compression paddle during the mammogram.
  • You will be asked to change positions in between images.
  • You will be asked to hold very still and may be asked to hold your breath while the X-ray picture is taken to reduce to chance of a blurred image.
  • You may be asked to wait while the radiologist or technologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained.
  • The entire mammogram should take about 30 minutes.

Learn how to prepare for a screening digital mammography.

Learn the benefits and risks of screening digital mammography.

Watch the Mammography - What to Expect Video.