A mammogram is a safe, low-dose, X-ray of the breast. Routine, annual mammograms are the best screening tool available for breast cancer because they can detect changes in the breast long before any symptoms appear or any lumps can be felt. When tumors are found early, more treatment options are available. In addition, small cancers are the most curable.
Two kinds of mammograms are available. A basic screening is performed when no symptoms are present to detect the presence of any abnormalities. A diagnostic mammogram, which provides additional images, is done to detect and diagnose breast disease in women who are experiencing symptoms.
This vital imaging exam is available at numerous locations throughout the BayCare Health System imaging centers.
How do I prepare for the exam?
- Do not use deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or near your breasts on the day of your mammogram.
- Wear a two-piece outfit so you will only have to remove your top.
- Notify one of the BayCare Imaging Professionals if you are nursing or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
- Bring with you the name, address and phone number of any facility where you have had a prior mammogram and bring any previous films. The radiologist needs your previous films for comparison in order to make an accurate assessment. Failure to bring your films may result in a delay of the physician's report.
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to verify your registration information.
What should I expect during the exam?
- You will be positioned in front of a special X-ray machine, warmed for your comfort.
- One at a time, each of your breasts are pressed momentarily between an adjustable platform and a clear plate. Some brief pressure is necessary to flatten the breast in order to get the clearest picture.
- The entire exam typically takes 10-15 minutes.
What happens after the exam?
- A radiologist who specializes in breast imaging will review your mammography pictures.
- The radiologist prepares a diagnostic report to share with your doctor.
- Your doctor will consider this information in context of your overall care and talk with you about the results.
To make an appointment, please call:
Hillsborough County: (813) 635-3610
Pinellas/Pasco Counties: (727) 461-8555