(Breast X-ray; Mammogram; X-ray of Breast Tissue)
Reasons for Test
- As a screening test—in women without symptoms
- As a diagnostic test—to help make a diagnosis in women with symptoms like a lump or change in breast shape
- To help determine size and location of a lump before a biopsy or surgery
|Mammogram Showing the Growth of a Breast Mass|
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What to Expect
Prior to Test
- Scheduling the exam when breast tissue is least tender. This is most often a week after your period.
- Avoiding caffeinated drinks.
- Applying skin numbing products—The FDA has issued a warning about using skin numbing products (also called topical anesthetics) for this purpose.
- Are pregnant
- Are breastfeeding
- Have breast implants —Ask if the facility uses special techniques to accommodate implants.
- Do not apply deodorant, talcum powder, lotion, or perfume near your breasts or under your arms.
- Wear comfortable clothing so you can easily remove your shirt.
- Remove jewelry.
- Bring copies of previous mammograms and reports with you. If you have them done in the same facility each time, they will have results from prior years. The doctor can compare the old images to the new ones.
- Describe any breast problems to the technician before the exam.
Description of Test
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Call Your Doctor
- Changes in a breast, including a lump or thickening
- Skin discoloration or discharge from the nipple
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
Breast Cancer Society of Canada http://www.bcsc.ca
Radiology for Patients http://www.radiology-info.org/
Mammograms. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/detection/mammograms . Accessed October 23, 2012.
Mammography (breast imaging). Radiological Society of North America Radiology Info website. Available at: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=mammo . Accessed May 7, 2013. Accessed July 26, 2013.
Mammography for breast cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated July 2, 2013. Accessed July 26, 2013.
8/12/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice bulletin no.122: Breast cancer screening. Obstet Gynecol . 2011;118(2 Pt 1):372-382.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm; Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 07/2013 -
- Update Date: 05/11/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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