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What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast tissue. The mammogram uses low-dose X-ray to produce black and white images of the internal structures of the breast. These images help physicians screen for and diagnose abnormalities of the breast.

When is mammography used?

Women should work closely with their physician to determine the screening schedule that is right for them. The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older have a screening mammogram every year for as long as they are healthy.

What can I expect?

You will be asked to undress from the waist up in a private dressing area and put on an examination gown. When you are ready, a specially trained and accreditated mammography technologist will position one of your breasts within the mammography imaging unit. The unit will gently compress the breast to flatten breast tissue so an image can be made. You will feel some pressure for a few seconds during compression, though most women report little or no discomfort. Two or three X-rays - from the top and from the sides - will be taken of each breast at varing angles to ensure all tissue is visualized. The entire process usually takes less than 20 minutes to complete.

A diagnostic mammogram involves additional views, which focus on the problem area.

When can I expect results?

A radiologist, a physician with special training in reading X-rays, will interpret your mammogram. If the radiologist determines a biopsy is necessary for further evaluation of the breast tissue, you will be notified directly following your mammogram. A summary of your results will be sent to your home address within three to five days.

How do I schedule a mammogram?

To schedule a mammogram call 630.275.APPT (2778). If you are scheduling a diagnostic mammogram, please have a prescription or order from your physician.

Where can I get additional information?

For your convenience, Advocate Health Care has created a breast health Web site with frequently asked questions about breast cancer, information about support groups, links to additional resources and more. Click here for information. 

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