Mammograms are one of the best ways to find the early stages of breast cancer. It can reveal small tumors up to two years before you or your doctor can feel them. These scans also catch images of tiny calcifications that are often noncancerous. But if they form clusters, then they could become cancerous. These micro-calcifications cannot be viewed by an ultrasound and may be missed by a breast MRI. This is why mammograms save lives — and it could save yours. At Novant Health UVA Health System, our board-certified team members use the latest mammography technology and standards for the best possible accuracy. Our breast centers are accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).
Online scheduling available at Haymarket and Prince William medical centers.
These simple screenings are brief, between 10 and 15 minutes, and consist of two images per breast. Women’s breasts are unique with varying shapes, sizes, amounts of fatty tissue, milk glands and milk ducts, and noncancerous lumps. A baseline mammogram is a woman's first breast screening. It gives doctors something to compare future mammograms against to determine if there are any changes or suspicious findings. Screening mammograms are typically for women who do not have any symptoms or are at a low risk for breast cancer.
We're bringing mammography services to you
The Novant Health UVA Health System mobile mammography unit is a motorized coach that brings a mammography machine to where you live, work and attend civic activities and faith-based services. Our goal is to ensure all women have access to high-quality breast health services, regardless of ability to pay or travel to a full-service imaging center. For more information on mobile mammography, please visit our imaging section.
This mammogram is usually ordered after a radiologist identifies changes from a baseline mammogram or sees something suspicious or abnormal. These mammograms take longer than a regular screening since more images are necessary from additional angles.
3-D mammography, also called tomosynthesis**
Recommended for women with dense breasts or with a family history of breast cancer. Images are taken at the same time as a regular mammogram with the same system. The X-ray arm sweeps in an arc over your breast while taking multiple images in 1-millimeter slices. It provides a higher accuracy rate. **3-D mammography is currently only offered at Culpeper and Haymarket medical centers.
Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
In addition to a mammogram, women at high risk for breast cancer should have an MRI every year. Women with moderately high risk for breast cancer should discuss this screening test with their doctor. An MRI uses magnetic fields to image breast tissue. This test can reveal some cancers that a mammogram would miss, but it is also more likely to reveal unusual tissue growth that isn't cancer. In women at average risk for breast cancer, this is more likely to lead to follow-up procedures for growths that aren't cancer, which carries its own risks. That's why screening with MRI is not recommended for all women.