What You Need to Know about Mammography
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast using a special X-ray machine which shows the detail of the breast tissue. UW Health uses only digital equipment for your mammogram. By comparing these breast pictures to your prior mammograms, a radiologist (a doctor trained to read X-rays) can see if there are any changes. Although mammography uses radiation, the risk of a future problem from radiation is very small compared to the benefit of finding an early cancer. A mammogram can show changes before they can be found any other way.
Before and During Your Mammogram
On the day of your mammogram try not to wear any of the following in your underarms or on your breasts:
• glitter lotion of any sort
Some of these products may create spots on the X-rays which make them harder to read.
Your mammogram will take about 20-30 minutes. A radiology technologist will take the pictures. She will place each breast between two smooth flat plates and apply gentle but firm compression .For some patients this may be slightly uncomfortable but it is needed to get the best pictures.
Who Should Have a Mammogram?
Screening mammography is done on women without known breast problems. If you have a breast concern, please talk to your health care provider first so a diagnostic mammogram can be ordered. Other tests such as an ultrasound may also be ordered.
When Should a Mammogram be Done?
For women who are at average risk for developing breast cancer, UW Health recommends the following:
• A baseline screening mammogram between ages 40-49, usually at age 40.
• Screening mammograms every one to two years for women ages 50-74.
• Screening mammograms every one to two years for women ages 40-49 and
• 75-85, based on a talk with their provider about the risks and benefits of
If your risk of breast cancer is higher than the average woman, you and your provider can talk about a mammogram schedule that is right for you. Please see you doctor to find out when and how often you should have a mammogram.
Your Mammogram Results
A radiologist will read your mammogram. The pictures should be read within a few days and a report will be sent to your health care provider. You will also receive a letter in the mail with your results.
For Your Information
Once your films have been read, we may ask for more pictures or an ultrasound. This does not mean there is a problem. It indicates part of the breast needs to be seen in greater detail. This is common, even for women who have healthy breasts. More pictures are taken at different angles or positions. Sometimes, a breast ultrasound (the use of sound waves to create a picture) is recommended for one area of the breast. These extra tests are called "diagnostic" films. The radiologist will check them the day of your appointment. A UW Health staff person will call you to schedule this appointment.
Scheduling Your Mammogram
You may schedule your mammogram online via MyChart at https://uwhealthmychart.org or by calling any of the following UW Health locations:
UW Hospital and Clinics
600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792
UW Health Breast Center
1 S. Park Street, Madison, WI 53715
UW Health DeForest Windsor Clinic
4131 Meridian Drive, Windsor, WI 53598
UW Health East Clinic
5249 E. Terrace Drive, Madison, WI 53718
UW Health East Towne Clinic
4122 East Towne Boulevard, Madison, WI 53704
(608) 245-6122 or (608) 287-2050
UW Health Odana Atrium Clinic
5618 Odana Road, Madison, WI 53719
UW Health West Clinic
451 Junction Road, Madison, WI 53717
UW Health Yahara Clinic
1050 East Broadway, Monona, WI 53716
If you have any questions, call Breast Care Services at
UW Hospital and Clinics (608) 266-6400 or 1 S. Park Clinic (608) 287-2050
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/05/2013
Copyright © 10/24/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7444
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