A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. The mammogram may reveal breast disease in women who do not seem to have breast problems. Mammograms may also be used when women have symptoms, such as a lump, skin change or nipple discharge.
During a mammogram, the breast is placed between two plates of the machine to compress the tissue. The pressure lasts only for a few seconds. Although this may cause some discomfort for a moment, it is needed to get a good picture. Very low levels of radiation are used. While many people are worried about exposure to X-rays, the low level of radiation used for mammograms does not increase the risk of breast cancer.
About 1 in 10 women who get a mammogram will need to have additional pictures taken. But most of these women do not have breast cancer. Only two to four of every 1,000 mammograms lead to a diagnosis of cancer.
Women with a high risk of breast cancer should talk with their doctors about the best approach for them. They may benefit from starting mammograms when they are younger, having them more often or having other tests along with them.
The Capital Breast Care Center provides access to mammograms for all women age 40 and over, regardless of whether they have insurance. Mammograms are provided by our clinical partners at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and MedStar Washington Hospital Center. CBCC can also schedule women for mammograms at other locations convenient to them. CBCC will continue to navigate patients with abnormalities through all follow-up care. Patients with a family history of cancer may receive referrals to Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center’s genetic counseling program.
Please call our patient navigators to schedule your appointment for screening and navigation services at 202-784-2720. (Se habla español: 202-784-2705.) CBCC patients who need to pick up their mammography films can also call this number.
Find More Information on Mammograms
- American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer
- Screening Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control