3D Screening Mammography
A screening mammogram is an annual exam to screen for breast cancer in women without symptoms of the disease. We integrate the enhanced accuracy of 3D mammography, the most effective breast cancer screening tool available today, with SmartCurve comfort technology to deliver a better mammogram. SmartCurve, the revolutionary curved mammogram, is shaped like your breast for greater comfort.
A 3D screening mammogram uses advanced X-ray technology to capture multiple images of the breasts. During the exam, each breast will be compressed between two surfaces, one of which may be a SmartCurve paddle designed to more comfortably contour to your breast. The mammography machine moves in an arc over the breast, capturing multiple images while the breast remains stable. Compression will take only a few seconds per breast and is necessary for capturing clear, accurate images. Once the exam is complete, a breast-specialized radiologist will evaluate the images for signs of cancer, breast tissue density and other significant findings.
Most physicians do not require an order for a screening mammogram, but if they do, we will inform you at the time of scheduling. You will need to provide the name of a physician to whom we can send your reports after the exam.
For your convenience, you can click here to schedule your screening mammogram online.
We recommend annual screening mammograms for women starting at age 40. According to the American College of Radiology, starting annual mammograms at 40 decreases the likelihood of dying from breast cancer and allows for diagnosis at earlier stages so that less aggressive treatments are needed for cancers that are found. Some women may need to begin annual screening mammograms before age 40 if they have risk factors for breast cancer. Talk to your health care provider to determine if you should begin screening mammograms before age 40.
If you have noticed breast symptoms – including lump, discharge or dimpling – you should first notify your primary care provider as you will need a referral for a diagnostic mammogram. (See information on 3D Diagnostic Mammography).
Breast cancer is one of the most diagnosed cancers in women and mammograms are the single most effective screening test for it. In fact, there is no other cancer screening test in medicine as effective as mammography. Breast cancer is not preventable, but it is curable if detected early.
No. It matters who performs and interprets your mammogram. Our breast-specialized radiologists are fellowship trained in breast imaging or have equivalent specialized breast imaging experience. Research has shown there is a significant improvement in mammography accuracy when a mammogram is interpreted by a radiologist who specializes in breast imaging compared to a general radiologist.
Our experienced mammography technologists are well versed in properly positioning you for your mammogram. They understand how much compression is needed to provide the most accurate results and a more physically comfortable mammogram experience.
Standard compression systems may cause discomfort in many women. However, Washington Radiology uses SmartCurve comfort technology, which has been clinically proven to provide a more comfortable mammogram. Shaped like your breast for greater comfort, SmartCurve reduces pulling and pinching for a more comfortable experience.
The entire procedure takes only 5 to 10 minutes, with each breast getting compressed twice to get the best image possible.
If an abnormality is found during a screening mammogram, you will be contacted to return for a breast imaging workup, most likely in the form of a diagnostic mammogram and/or breast ultrasound. A diagnostic mammogram is like a screening mammogram, but it includes additional views of a specific area of the breast. A breast-specialized radiologist will review your diagnostic mammogram and share the results in a consultation with you before you leave your appointment.
Preparing for Your Exam
The day of your exam:
- Wear a two-piece outfit, so that you will need to remove only your top and bra. We provide comfortable privacy capes to wear during your visit.
- Don’t apply deodorant before your exam. It can appear as white spots on images and cause an unnecessary return visit.
- Don’t apply lotion, powder, cream or perfume on the day before or the day of your exam.
- Please eat and do not fast before your visit.
- If this is your first mammogram with Washington Radiology, bring your mammography records or have them transferred before your appointment. Your old records will be compared to your new exam images for a thorough evaluation by our breast radiologists. Delay in transferring records can result in delayed delivery of mammogram results.
- Arrive 15 minutes before your appointment and bring the name of your physician (whose care you are under) to whom we should send your mammography report.
- Call us if you have questions before your appointment.
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