Summit Health uses advanced digital technology for mammograms, which provides a detailed, x-ray picture of the breast. This image allows your doctor to see any changes in your breast tissue that could not be felt during a clinical breast exam.
Why the Test is Performed
Mammography is performed to screen women to detect early breast cancer when it is more likely to be cured. Mammograms are also used for detecting and evaluating breast abnormalities and disease symptoms.
Suggested screening guidelines:
Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health. (Source: The American Cancer Society)
Women should have a diagnostic mammogram when any of the following signs or symptoms of breast cancer are felt or seen:
- Lump or mass
- Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
- New onset of breast pain
(Source: The American Cancer Society)
Starting in their 20s and 30s, women should do breast self exams and have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic (regular) health exam by a health professional preferably every 3 years. Starting at age 40, women should add a CBE by a health professional every year.