Screening mammography is an X-ray exam that provides detailed images of the internal structure of the breast tissue of both men and women and can reveal changes that are too small for you or your doctor to feel. This means that many cancers can be found when still very small and haven’t yet spread, which is important for successful treatment. These exams help look for potential health concerns, and as have been temporarily delayed, until mid-May, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Screening mammography is performed on women who have no obvious breast abnormality. A standard mammography provides 2D images of the breast, our mammography technology provides traditional 2D images of the breast combined with a 3D scan of the breast that can then be viewed in slices (tomosynthesis). This provides a greater level of detail and a clearer view of the breast tissue with the same small dose of radiation as the standard mammography.
Our Mahogany, Market Mall, Mayfair Place, and Southcentre locations feature the latest technology that makes the experience more comfortable and includes the option for patient-assisted compression – a remote control that allows the patient to adjust the level of breast compression during the exam, under the supervision of the technologist.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY EXAM?
- Schedule your appointment one week after your last menstruation to decrease breast tenderness.
- Avoid caffeine in the three days prior to your exam.
- If you’ve had a previous mammography, bring, or have your doctor send, your previous images for the day of your appointment, especially if they were taken out of town so we can review them.
- If you felt pain from your last mammography, please let us know.
- Please tell us if you have any problems moving or if you have shoulder or chest pain.
- Bathe or shower the day of your appointment.
- Do not use deodorant, antiperspirant and lotion or powder under the arms or near the breast area as they can affect imaging.
- Wear a two-piece outfit so you can change for the exam more comfortably.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY EXAM?
- You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and given a robe.
- Your technologist will move you to the correct position between two X-ray plates.
- The surfaces will slowly move together, compressing the breast for a short time to minimize your discomfort. Compressing the breast is necessary to get the clearest image of your tissue using the least amount of radiation.
- OPTIONAL: Once you have been correctly postioned by the technologist, you have the option to use a handheld remote to adjust the level of compression to what's comfortable for you, under the supervision of the technologist. This will not affect the accuracy of the images and the technologist will ensure that the optimal level of compression is acheived for the clearest images.
- Each breast will be imaged at least twice to create a top and side view for each one.
- We will let you know if a follow-up exam is needed.
WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?
We do our best to have our radiologists interpret the information and forward the results to your doctor by the next business day.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
One exam, per year, is covered under your Alberta Health Care Plan for women age 40 and above. It is not currently offered at our Saskatchewan clinic. If you are younger, or need more frequent examinations, please consult your doctor.