A mammogram is a safe X-ray of the breast that finds irregularities within the breast tissue. This precise screening tool often finds lumps long before they can be felt by a physical exam. Experts vary on when women should get their first mammogram. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends women start at age 50, and the American Cancer Society recommends they start at age 45. Your doctor can help you determine what is best for you. All women, however, should regularly perform breast self-exams.
Who Performs the Test?
At Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, mammograms are performed in our Radiology department. Staffed by board-certified radiologists and technologists credentialed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists, the department complies with the Department of State Health Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines and is accredited by the American College of Radiology.
How Do I Prepare for a Mammogram?
On the day of your appointment, do not wear any powder, perfume, deodorant, or makeup below your neck. These products may affect the accuracy of your exam results. If you’re planning to go somewhere other than home after your mammogram, we suggest bringing these items with you to apply once the test is over.
Patients younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Note that children are not permitted in the X-ray room, nor in the waiting area if unsupervised. Please arrange childcare prior to your appointment.
If you've had mammograms at other locations, be sure to bring the films to your appointment. If your previous provider gave you a CD with your films, we can view them if they’re in DICOM format. By looking at your past mammogram, we can more accurately diagnose your breast health, prevent false alarms about breast cancer, and eliminate unnecessary procedures.
What Can I Expect?
- You will be asked to disrobe from the waist up and will be provided with a robe.
- To optimally image your breast tissue, firm compression of the breast is very important to reduce the thickness of the breast and distribute overlapping tissue. While some women find the necessary compression uncomfortable, the time the breast is compressed is brief.
- The exam will include at least two X-ray pictures of each breast. The mammogram itself will only last about 15 minutes, but it’s best to allow about 30 minutes for the full procedure.
When Will I Get the Results?
When your exams are complete, one of our radiologists will interpret the X-ray images. If you don’t receive your results within two weeks of the mammogram, call your doctor who can discuss your results with you.
Important Health Warning
If you have any reason to think that you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately so that he or she can advise you. Mammography is contra-indicated for pregnant females with very few exceptions that can only be determined by your doctor.
A key part of detecting breast cancer is to self-examine your breasts on a regular basis – because many cancers are found first by patients. Women 20 and older should conduct monthly self-exams. If you’d like training on how to do them, ask the nurse during your well-woman appointment.
In addition to mammograms, patients should stay on top of their annual well-woman exam, which can be scheduled with a primary care provider, gynecologist, or OB/GYN. This appointment includes a breast exam, health maintenance evaluation, gynecological exam, and Pap test. The well-woman exam along with breast self-exams are important tools for maintaining your health.
Scheduling Your Mammogram
To schedule a mammogram appointment or to ask about exam instructions, please contact the Radiology Scheduling Department at 713-442-1161. Mammography appointments are available at the following Kelsey-Seybold Clinic locations: