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Mammogram FAQ

How do I prepare for my mammogram?

If this is your first time having a mammogram, please obtain any previous mammographic studies as well as the accompanying reports, and bring them with you for comparison purposes. In addition, on the day of your mammogram, please do not use deodorants, creams or powders in the underarm or breast area. Since you will be asked to undress from the waist up, you will find that wearing a skirt or pants will be more convenient than a dress.

Why is mammography important?

Mammography is the single most effective screening tool available to detect breast cancer early. Today’s low-dose mammography techniques have greatly improved survival from breast cancer because mammography may detect a tumor long before you or your doctor can feel it. If breast cancer is found and treated early, and localized to the breast, the national ten-year relative survival rate is greater than 90 percent. In addition, you may have more treatment options, including breast-conserving surgery, when the tumor is detected at an early stage.

How will I get the results of my screening mammogram?

MedStar Health Cancer Network's specialized breast radiologists will carefully and promptly interpret your screening mammogram and send a written report to your physician, who will discuss the results with you. In addition, you will receive a letter notifying you of the results of your mammogram.

What if an abnormality is found on the screening mammogram?

First, do not get alarmed. Most abnormalities discovered by mammography are benign (not cancer). However, if an abnormality is discovered by screening mammography, you will need additional breast evaluation. In addition to diagnostic mammography, additional breast imaging may be recommended including breast ultrasound and/or breast MRI.

What does a mammogram feel like?

During mammography, you will feel pressure on the breast as it is squeezed by a compression paddle. Compression is needed in order to produce an optimal mammogram and to reduce the radiation exposure to the breast. For most women, mammography is not painful, although some women may experience minor discomfort. If this is the case, we recommend scheduling the procedure when your breasts are the least tender.

What if I have breast implants?

If you have breast implants you should still follow the recommended screening guidelines for mammography. When you have implants, special mammographic views must be taken to allow visualization of both the breast tissue and the implant. MedStar Health Cancer Network's team of highly trained breast care technologists knows how to carefully compress your breasts in order to optimize the image, while minimizing the risk of injuring your breast implant.

Learn more from our breast health experts about Mammograms

Location Information

For a physician referral, please call 1-877-715-HOPE.

Our Locations

Comprehensive breast cancer services are available at:

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
9103 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237

Other locations offering breast cancer services:

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
5601 Loch Raven Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Harbor Hospital
The Cancer Center
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
3333 North Calvert St.
Johnston Professional Bldg
G23
Baltimore, MD 21218

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