(Breast X-ray; Mammogram; X-ray of Breast Tissue)
Reasons for Test
- As a screening test—in women without symptoms
- As a diagnostic test—to help make a diagnosis in women with symptoms like a lump or change in breast shape
- To help determine size and location of a lump before a biopsy or surgery
|Mammogram Showing the Growth of a Breast Mass|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
What to Expect
Prior to Test
- Scheduling the exam when breast tissue is least tender. This is most often a week after your period.
- Avoiding caffeinated drinks.
- Applying skin numbing products—The FDA has issued a warning about using skin numbing products (also called topical anesthetics) for this purpose.
- Are pregnant
- Are breastfeeding
- Have breast implants—Ask if the facility uses special techniques to accommodate implants. Implants make it hard to see breast tissue.
- Do not apply deodorant, talcum powder, lotion, or perfume near your breasts or under your arms.
- Ask your doctor if you should take a pain medicine like ibuprofen to relieve discomfort.
- Wear comfortable clothing so you can easily remove your shirt.
- Remove jewelry.
- Bring copies of previous mammograms and reports with you. If you have them done in the same facility each time, they will have results from prior years. The doctor can compare the old images to the new ones.
- Describe any breast problems to the technician before the exam.
Description of Test
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Call Your Doctor
- Changes in a breast, including a lump or thickening
- Skin discoloration or discharge from the nipple
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov
Breast Cancer Society of Canada http://www.bcsc.ca
Radiology for Patients http://www.radiologyinfo.ca
Breast cancer screening: research and guidelines. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated November 21, 2011. Accessed October 23, 2012.
Mammograms. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/detection/mammograms. Accessed October 23, 2012.
Mammography (breast imaging). Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/sitemap/modal-alias.cfm?modal=Mammo. Accessed October 23, 2012.
Mammography for breast cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated September 19, 2012. Accessed October 23, 2012.
United States Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2006.
8/12/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice bulletin: breast cancer screening. Obstetrics & Gynecology . 2011;122.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm
- Review Date: 10/2012 -
- Update Date: 10/31/2012 -