Having a regular mammogram is one of the best ways to prevent and detect breast cancer early. Most physicians recommend that women have routine mammograms once they are 40 years old, and some may start having them earlier if they have other risk factors such as a family history of breast cancer or if they smoke.
What is a Screening Mammogram vs a Diagnostic Mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Screening mammograms are routinely done to detect abnormalities in the breast in women who have no apparent symptoms or signs of breast cancer. Diagnostic mammograms are done if something suspicious is found in an annual screening mammogram or if there may be signs of breast cancer. Diagnostic mammograms may or may not be covered by your insurance. You should consult with your insurance company for individual coverage details.
You can get a screening mammogram at Sauk Prairie Hospital at Walk-In Wednesdays or by appointment if:
- It has been at least 12 months since your last screening mammogram to comply with most insurance requirements.
- You do not have breast lumps, bumps, pain or nipple discharge.
- You have not been diagnosed with breast cancer in the last 5 years.
You should schedule a diagnostic mammogram, if:
- You feel a lump, bump, or have pain or nipple discharge.
- You have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the last 5 years.
- If a radiologist or physician has recommended a diagnostic mammogram, regardless if it’s been more than 12 months since your last screening mammogram.
What is a 3-D mammogram?
A 3-D mammogram brings an additional set of images to your screening or diagnostic mammogram. It gives a three-dimensional view of the breast, allowing the radiologist to look through thin, sliced images of your breast one at a time instead of looking at one image with all of the information on it. It allows for better accuracy with improved early detection and makes fine details more visible.
3-D exams are approved for anyone who would undergo a standard mammogram. Multiple clinical studies have shown that all women, regardless of breast type or density, benefit from a 3-D exam. It detects 41 percent more invasive breast cancers and reduces false positives by up to 40 percent. This means better accuracy.
3-D mammograms may or may not be covered by your insurance. You should consult your insurance provider for individual coverage details. If your insurance does not cover the exam, you will be billed an additional charge to your screening or diagnostic mammogram for the service.
What about radiation?
Very low doses of radiation are used during both 2-D and 3-D exams. The total patient dose is within FDA safety standards for mammography.
What if the radiologist sees something abnormal on my screening mammogram?
If something appears to be abnormal on your screening mammogram, you will be contacted to schedule additional imaging. This could include a diagnostic mammogram and/or a breast ultrasound. The radiologist will review these images at the time of your procedure.
What does a breast ultrasound do?
Breast ultrasounds are used to determine whether a breast lump is filled with fluid (a cyst) or is a solid mass. They are also often used to check abnormal results from a mammogram. Breast ultrasounds may or may not be covered by your insurance. You should consult your insurance company for individual coverage details.
Preparing for Your Mammogram?
Some things to consider to help the process runs smoothly:
- Avoid wearing a dress.
- Avoid deodorant, perfume, lotion or powder.
- It’s best to avoid getting a mammogram during the week before your menstrual cycle.
Be sure to bring your:
- Health insurance card.
- The name of the facility where you had your last mammogram.
- The name of the primary care doctor.
By Appointment, call 608-643-7274
- Mon – Fri: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
- Occasional Saturday mornings
- Occasional weekday evenings
Walk-in mammography screenings are available from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesdays.