A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that is used to screen for breast cancer. Mammograms can find tumors that are too small for you or your doctor to feel, and can help detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.
The mammogram uses X-rays (low-dose radiation) to see the inside of your breast. Compression (flattening) of the breast tissue is needed to get the highest quality image. Compression is not dangerous to your breast. Any mild discomfort should be temporary. A mammogram is performed by a radiology technologist or mammogram technologist, then the images are by a doctor who specializes in evaluating X-rays (radiologist).
Mammography screenings are provided at 13 Park Nicollet Clinic locations via our Mammo a-go-go Mobile Mammography truck. We also offer mammography services at select Park Nicollet locations and at Park Nicollet Jane Brattain Breast Center.
Preparing for your mammogram:
- Schedule the test for a time when your breasts are least likely to be tender. If you haven't gone through menopause, that's usually during the week after your menstrual period. Your breasts are most likely to be tender the week before and the week during your period.
- Bring your prior mammogram images. If you're going to a new facility for your mammogram, gather any prior mammograms and bring them with you to your appointment so that the radiologist can compare them with your new images, or have the name of your facility and the Jane Brattain Breast Center will have you sign a release of information form and collect those images for you.
- Don't use deodorant before your mammogram. Avoid using deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, creams or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts. Metallic particles in powders and deodorants could be visible on your mammogram and cause confusion. The Jane Brattain Breast Center provides wipes if you forget.
- Consider an over-the-counter pain medication if you find that having a mammogram is uncomfortable. Taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), about an hour before your mammogram might ease the discomfort of the test.