Mammogram / Mammography
A mammogram is a low dose x-ray that can detect abnormalities in the breast. Mammograms are used as a screening tool to aid in the early detection of breast cancer in women.
A registered medical radiation technologist specializing in mammography will place your breast on a special X-ray machine. A plastic plate will press down on your breast and hold it in place for a few seconds. You will feel some pressure on your breast during the X-ray. This pressure does not harm your breast tissue.
Four images are taken, two of each breast. The technologist will check the images to make sure they are of good quality for the radiologist to read. If necessary the technologist will take additional pictures.
How does it feel?
You will feel some pressure on your breast. It feels similar to a tight blood pressure cuff. A few women experience pain but it lasts only for a few seconds. If you feel pain during the X-ray, tell the technologist. The technologist may be able to adjust the pressure. The two of you can work together to make it as comfortable an experience as possible.
When scheduling your mammogram, try to make your appointment the week after your period. Some women have increased breast tenderness the week prior and during their menstrual cycle.
If your last mammogram was done at a different facility, please bring a copy of the reports and images with you to your appointment. If you do not have your images, try to request them or give the name and location of the facility to the person scheduling your appointment so that they can request them. The radiologists prefer to have prior mammogram images so they can compare and check for any changes in your breast tissue.
Please do not wear deodorant, powder or lotions on your chest and underarms. You will be asked to wipe it off prior to your exam. Some deodorants have aluminum in them which can resemble micro-calcifications on mammographic images.
You will be asked to undress from the waist up and put a gown on.
Port Perry Imaging is an approved OBSP screening site. Screening mammograms can be booked with or without a referral from your healthcare provider.
The Ontario Breast Screening Program is a province-wide organized screening program that aims to reduce breast cancer mortality in Ontario.
It provides high-quality breast screening throughout Ontario to two groups of women, and recommends that:
- Most women ages 50 to 74 be screened every two years with mammography.
- Women ages 30 to 69 who are confirmed to be at high risk of getting breast cancer be screened once a year with a mammogram and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (or, if MRI is not medically appropriate, screening breast ultrasound).
Regular breast cancer screening can find cancer when it is small, which means:
- There is a better chance of treating the cancer successfully.
- It is less likely to spread.
- There may be more treatment options.