What is the difference between a screening and a diagnostic mammogram?

Screening mammograms are done annually and look for signs of abnormality. Diagnostic mammograms are used to evaluate a specific area of concern, and will be immediately reviewed by the radiologist while you are still in the office.

When will I know my results?

A radiologist will read your mammogram later on the same day. The reports are available the next day. If your mammogram requires additional imaging due to a possible change, you will be called back within two (2) days.

Why do you need my previous mammogram films?

It is essential for our radiologists to have the opportunity to compare your previous mammogram images to your current images. This ensures the highest quality result. If your previous films are from another facility, we will obtain them for you. If we do not have your previous images, your final results may be delayed.

Why can’t I wear deodorant?

One of the signs we are looking for in your mammogram is tiny flecks of calcium, that can be a finding of early breast cancer. Deodorants and antiperspirants contain metals that can look just like those flecks of calcium.

Can I have a mammogram if I have breast implants?


Why do you have to compress the breasts?

The compression only lasts a few seconds, and is key to getting a quality mammogram. First, compression prevents motion that can cause blurring and obscure findings in the breast tissue. Second, compression is a key way of separating normal breast tissue that compresses easily, from cancers which are stiffer and do not compress.

What does it mean if I have dense breasts?

In a mammogram image, the fibroglandular tissue appears white, while the other structures appear in various shades ranging from gray to black. Dense breasts tend to have more white areas than grays-to-black, making the images somewhat more challenging to interpret for radiologists. Due to the accuracy of 3D technology and reading software, radiologists can see through many layers of the white tissue that otherwise might have obscured their view and made it harder to interpret your exam.

Can I have a screening ultrasound instead of a mammogram?

Unfortunately, no.  Mammograms and Ultrasounds image breast tissue differently. Not everything that is seen on a mammogram can be seen on an ultrasound. Mammography is the standard of care and the imaging modality of choice for breast cancer screening. Other modalities, like Breast MRI and ultrasound are used only when there is a clinical indication to do so.

If I have had a diagnostic or abnormal mammogram, will I always need a diagnostic mammogram?

No, occasionally the radiologist may want to follow up on an area in six months to watch for subtle changes. If this is the case, then yes, it would be a diagnostic exam. Otherwise, your exam will be a screening as long as it has been one year and one day since your last mammogram.