What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast used to check for breast cancer.
Do I need a mammogram?
Your risk of breast cancer increases as you get older. GRHS physicians recommend that all women age 40 and older have a screening mammogram every year.
Some women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. If you are at increased risk, there may be additional or more frequent screening tests recommended for you. Ask your primary care provider to assess your breast cancer risk factors and recommend the best screening plan for you.
What should I expect when I have a mammogram?
The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes. On the day of your mammogram, don’t wear deodorants, antiperspirants or perfumes. Some of these have substances that can show up on X-ray as white spots. When you arrive, we’ll take you the mammography room, where you will undress from the waist up and put on a gown. When you are ready, your technologist will enter the room and perform your mammogram.
All mammogram technologists at GRHS are women. You and your technologist will be the only people in the room during your mammogram. Your technologist will position and compress each breast, one at a time, between two plates attached to the X-ray machine. Compressing the breast reduces your X-ray exposure and produces a high quality image. The compression lasts just long enough for the technologist to take the image, usually just a few seconds. You may feel some discomfort. Tell your technologist if you feel any pain.
After your mammogram, one of our consulting radiologists will review your images and compare them to your previous mammograms to determine if there have been any changes in your breast tissue. We will send you a letter with your results about a week after your mammogram.
It’s not uncommon for women who have had a mammogram to need more tests. In most cases, the follow-up test will be another type of mammogram. Don’t panic if this happens to you. The odds are very good that you will not need any further testing after your follow-up mammogram.
A very small percentage of women who have a follow-up mammogram will need a biopsy in order to further investigate an abnormality detected on the mammogram. A biopsy is procedure in which a very small tissue sample is taken from the breast with a hollow needle. Ultrasound is used to guide the needle to the right area of the breast. GRHS provides this procedure, so you can have this done close to home. Most biopsies will not be cancer.
Why should I choose GRHS for mammography?
All mammograms at GRHS are full-field digital mammograms, in which the image is stored in a digital format for viewing on a computer screen instead of on film. Digital mammograms enable radiologists to electronically enhance, magnify, store and retrieve images, making long-distance consultations easier. They also help radiologists to see subtle differences between normal and abnormal breast tissue, which can reduce the number of follow-up images and exposure to radiation in some patients.
How do I schedule a mammogram?
To schedule your annual mammogram, call 320-864-7080. If this will be your first mammogram, talk with your primary care provider before scheduling.
Are mammograms covered by insurance?
Screening mammograms are covered by most insurance programs, including Medicare. Call your insurance plan to ask about your coverage. If you will be paying for any portion of your mammogram directly, call our Billing Department for help estimating costs and to make payment arrangements.