Breast screening is personal, find a trusted location in Birmingham
A mammogram helps you and your doctor better understand your breast health. Care teams at Ascension St. Vincent’s recommend annual mammography screenings beginning at age 40. If you have a family history of breast cancer, ask your doctor if you should have a breast screening test before you turn 40. By getting to know you and your health history, we can recommend the breast screening that’s right for you.
At many of our locations, we provide comprehensive breast imaging, including:
- Screening mammograms
- Diagnostic mammograms
- Digital 3D mammography
- Breast ultrasound
- Breast MRI
Getting regular breast health screenings may help find breast cancer early, when it is most treatable. There may be more options for treatment too. At Ascension St. Vincent’s, our care teams are ready to answer any questions you may have about mammograms and other screenings you may need. If you need more care, including more advanced treatment options, you are connected to compassionate care teams and specialists that are right for you. We take the time to explain your procedure and walk you through every step.
Choosing a doctor is personal
Doctors at Ascension St. Vincent’s listen to understand you and your preferences, and answer your questions — big and small. You get personalized care, including referrals for yearly mammograms. Our compassionate teams are ready to answer any questions and help you feel more comfortable during your appointment.
Frequently asked questions
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray exam of your breast. A mammogram can help find problems with your breasts, such as cysts or cancer.
What age should women get a mammogram?
Start a conversation with your doctor to find out when you should begin having yearly breast screenings. We usually recommend women get a mammogram every year, beginning at age 40. You may need to have a mammogram sooner if you have risk factors or a family history of breast cancer. Most insurance providers cover a mammogram each year. Check with your insurance provider for more details on your coverage.
What happens during a mammogram?
You will need to undress from the waist up and wear a gown. The technologist will position your breast to get the clearest test results. Then, each of your breasts will be compressed one at a time. This helps get the most complete X-ray image. Your breasts will be repositioned to get at least two separate views of each breast.
How long does a mammogram take?
Your time is important, so we make getting a mammogram as convenient as possible. The entire procedure is about 20 minutes. But the actual breast compression only takes a few seconds for each breast.
Do mammograms hurt?
You may find the pressure of the plates on your breasts to be uncomfortable. Timing your mammogram when your breasts are not tender is important. In premenopausal women, this is usually one week after your menstrual period. If you do have discomfort or pain, ask your technologist to reposition you to try to make it as painless as possible. Remember that each X-ray takes just a few moments and could help save your life.
How do I prepare for a mammogram?
Do not use deodorant, powder or lotions on the day of your mammogram. We also recommended wearing a top that is easy to remove, since you will be asked to undress from the waist up and wear a gown.
How quickly will I know my results?
After your mammogram, a radiologist will read your mammogram and send a report to your doctor. You typically get your results around one week after your mammogram.
What if something is detected during my mammogram?
Just because something abnormal is found during your mammogram does not always mean there is cancer. But you will need to have additional mammograms or tests done. You may also be referred to a breast care specialist or a surgeon at Ascension St. Vincent’s — this doesn’t mean you have cancer or need surgery. These doctors specialize in diagnosing breast problems. By doing follow-up tests, we may diagnose breast cancer or find there is no cancer.