Mammography screening is the best method for finding breast cancer in its earliest stages, when cure rates are the highest. It can reveal small tumors up to two years before you or your doctor can feel them during a breast exam. If a tumor or other issue is detected, you may also need a diagnostic mammogram or other breast-imaging to pinpoint the cause.
At Novant Health UVA Health System, our skilled technologists have advanced training in breast imaging and are certified in mammography. We are accredited by the American College of Radiology.
We use advanced digital mammography to produce images on a high resolution computer monitor. Because the technologist can view these images immediately, we’re able to reduce the amount of time you spend in the imaging suite and lessen the need for retakes. And these images can be brightened and magnified to highlight specific areas for further examination.
Online scheduling available at Haymarket and Prince William medical centers.
We offer both screening and diagnostic mammograms:
- Screening mammograms help us find unsuspected changes in your breast tissue.
- Diagnostic mammograms are performed if we find a change in your breast tissue with a screening mammogram or if you have had a previous breast cancer diagnosis.
- 3-D mammography (breast tomosynthesis) produces three-dimensional images of the breast, leading to better cancer screening and detection.
These tests use low-level X-rays, which are the best screening methods for the detection of abnormalities in your breasts.
The American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging recommend yearly mammograms beginning at age 40.
For your safety
Tell your physician or the technologist performing the exam if there is any possibility that you are pregnant. Your doctor may postpone the exam to reduce the possible risk of exposing your baby to radiation.
Preparing for a mammogram
- Do not use deodorant, powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts before having a mammogram.
- Wear a blouse or top that is easy to remove.
- You will be asked to complete a series of questions about your medical history.
- Tell your technologist if you have breast implants.
What to expect during a mammogram
During your mammogram, your breasts will be gently but firmly compressed to provide a clear picture. This can be uncomfortable for some patients, but the test does not last very long. After your mammogram you may have some skin discoloration due to the compression. This is temporary and normal.
A radiologist will review your exam images and report the findings to your doctor. Your doctor will then discuss the findings and next steps with you.