Mammography and Women's Imaging

Mammography and Women's Imaging

What is it?

Mammography and Women's ImagingTo guard your breast health, a mammogram is the best screening tool available. It is a safe, low-dose X-ray that can detect changes in the breast long before any symptoms appear or can be felt.

What is it for?

Breast cancer is most treatable when tumors are found early, so mammograms play a key role in monitoring your breast health. Mammograms can be used as a screening tool when you don't have symptoms and as a diagnostic tool if you are experiencing symptoms.

How to prepare

  • The best time for a mammogram is when your breasts are not tender. If you have not gone through menopause, it’s typically the week after your period. Your breasts are most tender the week before and the week during your period.
  • Bring images of previous mammograms so the radiologist can compare results between previous images and your newest mammogram
  • Don’t use antiperspirants, deodorants, creams, lotions, perfumes or other toiletries on your breasts or under your arms. Some toiletries have metal elements or particles that could appear on your mammogram and cause confusion on the images.
  • If you feel you will be uncomfortable, consider taking an over-the-counter pain medication an hour prior to the mammogram


  • Low doses of radiation will be used
  • Mammograms can be inaccurate due to a variety of reasons. Breast density is one reason. Younger women have denser breasts with more ligaments and glands. Denser breasts can block some cancer signs. As you get older, breast tissue has fewer glands making it easier to interpret mammograms.
  • Mammograms cannot detect all cancers. The cancer may be too small or in an area that is not easily accessed by the mammogram.

What happens during?

  • You’ll need to remove neck jewelry and clothing from the waist up
  • You’ll be given a hospital gown to wear
  • The procedure takes about 30 minutes
  • You will stand next to the X-ray machine specifically designed for mammographies. Your breast is placed on a flat table that is raised or lowered according to your height. Your head, arms and the rest of your body are positioned so a clear view of your breasts is possible.
  • Your breast is pressed on the table by a plate and pressure is applied for a few seconds to spread out the breast and even out its thickness. This allows the X-ray to take the most precise image.
  • The pressure isn’t harmful but it may be uncomfortable. Let your technician know if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort.
  • It’s important to stay as still as possible during the procedure

What happens after?

  • After images are taken, the technician will review them for quality. If the quality is considered not good, the procedure is repeated.
  • You can resume normal activities
  • The results are given to your doctor
  • Some mammograms require more imaging tests including ultrasounds and biopsies

More information:

If you would like to schedule an imaging exam, please use our scheduling tool below or call (855) 269-4333. To find a breast imaging center near you, please view our locations. You can also learn more about breast health services at BayCare.

Schedule Your Next Screening Mammogram Appointment Online