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What is a Mammogram?

As a woman, you have probably heard how important it is to schedule your annual mammogram. However, you may not fully understand what a mammogram is and what it entails. Put simply, a mammogram is an X-ray of the breast used to screen for breast cancer. Screening means checking for signs of cancer before there are symptoms or problems. If a problem is found more tests are needed. These are called diagnostic tests. A mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer early.

When Should I Get My First Mammogram?

Doctors and scientists agree that catching breast cancer early, when it can be treated more easily, is the best choice. Windsong’s breast imaging specialists recommend that all women of average risk 40 and older get a mammogram every year. Are you younger and at high risk due to a personal history of breast cancer and dense breast tissue? Talk to your doctor about getting a breast cancer screening sooner.

How Does a Mammogram Work?

The process of a mammogram can be divided into a few steps. The first part of a mammogram is the check in process. Here, you will answer questions such as "do you have any personal or family history of breast cancer" or "have you ever had surgery on your breasts." You will then provide personal information in order to receive the results.

After checking in, you will be brought to a changing room. Depending on protocols, you will be provided with either a locker or bag to put your clothes in, and change into a gown with an open front.

Once you are changed, it is time for the mammogram itself. For the mammogram, you will take two pictures of each breast. For the first picture, you will place your breasts on a surface one at a time. There is a second surface that will close over the top of your breast to take a picture or X-Ray. The second picture will be taken from the side. While it may be uncomfortable for some people, the exam is very brief and there is often little discomfort associated with a mammogram.

What is the Best Mammogram for Me?

Windsong has the longest background in providing 3D mammography in our Western New York community, beginning in 2011. It is offered at every one of our breast cancer screening facilities, as well as on the  mobile mammography unit, as it provides the radiologist with a more detailed picture, making it easier for them to catch breast cancer early. This technology has been shown to catch cancers earlier, and reduces the likelihood of a false positive.

Diagnostic Mammograms

Diagnostic mammograms are for those that are experiencing a worrisome lump, nipple discharge, a change in breast skin, or breast pain. Please contact your doctor.

Screening Mammograms

A screening mammogram is a recommended annual mammogram designed to catch breast cancer early before symptoms arise.

Are Mammograms Painful?

What most women feel is compression during the mammogram after the breast imaging technologist helps you position each breast on the machine for an x-ray. It generally entails two to four squeeze images between two plates on each breast. If you listen and follow the instructions of the technologists it is quick. It is helpful to keep in mind that this compression is a necessary part of your mammogram as it helps find breast cancer early.

If your breasts are really sensitive, it can help to go during the first half of your menstrual cycle to reduce sensitivity. The x-rays are read by the radiologist who will provide a report with your results either in person, through the mail or through the patient portal.

Where Can I Get a Mammogram Near Me?

To help you make a decision for your breast cancer screening it is important to keep in mind that facilities like Windsong have board certified and fellowship trained radiologists who specialize in women’s imaging. Windsong was the first facility in WNY to receive status as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence from the American College of Radiology (ACR). This designation recognizes Windsong’s commitment and dedication to providing the highest standards of breast imaging quality procedures and assurance as well as employing board-certified radiologists who are experts in the field.

Schedule a Mammogram Today

Even if you feel healthy and have no family history of breast cancer, it is still important to schedule an annual mammogram. Our breast imaging experts make your mammogram quick, safe, and convenient. To schedule a mammogram at any of Windsong’s four breast imaging locations, please call 716.631.2500 or request an appointment today.

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