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My First Mammogram

You probably have questions if you've never had a mammogram before, we are here to help!

Our comfortable center environments and staff of experts will provide you with the best experience possible. Learn about what to expect and tips for a more comfortable mammogram, below.

NOTE: Annual mammograms are recommended for women beginning at age 40, according to the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI). The American Cancer Society also recommends that women have the choice to begin mammography screening at age 40. For the complete, updated ACS guidelines, click here

  • Annual mammograms are recommended for women beginning at the age of 40
  • No physician referral is required for an annual screening exam
  • It is your choice where you get your mammogram
  • If you meet the requirements, most insurances cover annual mammograms at no cost to you

During a typical annual screening mammogram, images are taken of each breast from two angles. Sometimes a follow-up diagnostic mammogram is needed after a screening mammogram to collect more information about your breast tissue. A diagnostic mammogram may take longer than a screening mammogram as it requires more images and different angles to rule out any abnormalities.

  • Choose a two-piece outfit so you will only have to remove your top. You will be provided a gown or robe.
  • Try and schedule your appointment after your period to reduce any breast tenderness that many women experience the week before and during their period.
  • Do not wear deodorant, perfume, or powder the day of your mammogram. They will show up on your X-rays as white spots.
  • If you have breast implants, tell the person on the phone when you make your appointment.
  • Most technologists are women, but if you have a preference, let us know when you are making your appointment.
  • We will call you prior to your appointment to provide specific instructions and review health and insurance information.
  • You will need to provide the name, address and phone number of any facility where you have had a prior mammogram or bring previous films. The radiologist may need your previous films for comparison in order to make an accurate assessment.
  • Notify a member of our staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you could be pregnant.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes early to verify your registration.
  • The technologist will greet you and go through a few health questions.
  • You will be given a private space to remove your shirt and bra. You will receive a robe or gown to cover up.
  • The technologist will escort you to the X-ray machine specifically designed for mammograms and position you in front of the machine.
  • One at a time, your breast will be carefully positioned between the adjustable platform and clear plate and brief pressure will be applied to flatten the breast tissue in order to get the clearest picture.
  • The entire exam typically takes about 10-15 minutes.

Specific information on when and how you will receive your results will be given to you after your exam, but generally you can expect:

  • A radiologist who specializes in breast imaging will review your mammography images and prepare a report for your provider.
  • Your provider will consider the written report in context of your overall care, and contact you about the results. The results from your mammogram will also be mailed to you within 2 weeks.
  • If additional images are recommended, you will receive a phone call from our staff within 24-48 business hours to schedule the follow-up diagnostic procedure.
  • Reminder letters will be sent to all patients for a routine annual screening mammogram.

Learn more about breast imaging in your local area or call a center near you to schedule your annual mammogram.