About Your Mammogram 

As a general rule, every woman should start getting an annual mammogram beginning at age 40, along with a breast exam by a doctor or nurse. When you are in your 20s and 30s, you should get a breast exam by a doctor or a nurse about every three years. It’s also a good idea to perform breast self-exams so that you can know how your breasts normally look and feel and easily spot breast changes.

If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about starting your mammograms earlier. Patients over 40 with a significant family history or genetic factors may need to have an MRI in addition to a mammogram.

For more information on mammogram guidelines, visit the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute or WomensHealth.gov.

Preparing for your Mammogram

Comparing your prior mammograms to your current one is of utmost importance. Most Cancers are detected through changes of the breast tissue. For the most comprehensive exam, please bring all prior studies with you to your appointment. If your prior study was performed out of the area, we will ask you to sign a release form so that we can send for them.

If you usually experience premenstrual breast tenderness, schedule your mammogram two weeks after the start of your menstrual period.

If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be, you should tell your physician or the technologist before having the exam.

Wear a two-piece outfit so you can change easily. Do not wear perfume, powder, or deodorant on the day of the exam.

You may eat, drink, and take your medication as normal.

Once you arrive for your mammogram, you will be escorted to change into a gown, and seated comfortably in a quiet, secure area. A registered mammography technologist will greet you, guide you to a mammography room, take a brief history, and then help position your breast on a special platform while gradually compressing it with a clear plastic paddle. The compression is necessary to smooth out breast tissue and produce accurate images. It is not dangerous and does not cause damage to the breast tissue.

Your mammogram will usually involve images of each breast in two positions.  A standard mammogram and 3D images are taken in the same compression.  Most mammograms take about 20 minutes.

You have no restrictions after a mammogram and can go about your normal activities.

To Request Images

We provide reports to your referring physician as soon as possible following your exam.  You will also receive a letter in the mail informing you of your results.

To obtain a copy of your images and report, contact our Radiology File Room at 706-721-3305. Or visit the file room, which is located on the first floor of Augusta University Medical Center, to the left of the Breast Health Center.