Regular mammograms for breast cancer screening are recommended for most women over 40. The American Cancer Society estimates that one in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer, though the chance of survival increases with early and accurate breast cancer detection and diagnosis.
The Breast Care Center at Presbyterian/St. Luke's provides state-of-the-art digital mammography technology, accredited mammography technicians and board-certified radiologists for Denver women. While you don't need a doctor's referral for routine mammograms, we will ask you for your physician's contact information so we can communicate your results.
A mammogram is a special breast x-ray designed for breast cancer detection. Our digital mammography equipment is designed to detect the smallest breast lumps, usually long before you and your doctor can feel them in a routine breast exam.
Digital mammography displays each breast image on a computer screen so the mammography technician knows immediately if more breast images are necessary.
After the technician is satisfied with your breast images, they go to a radiologist specifically trained in breast cancer detection and diagnosis. Digital technology allows the radiologist to manipulate, enhance and minutely examine your mammogram for any areas of interest.
If a specific breast health concern exists, additional diagnostic images may be acquired to further investigate breast lumps you feel or to further assess mammographic abnormalities, such as calcifications, nodules or asymmetries.
Preparing for and Having a Digital Mammogram Exam
Most mammograms take 20 to 30 minutes. If you have had breast images taken before, please bring them to your appointment so our radiologists can compare them with current images.
To get ready for mammography:
- Relax. A mammogram is an important part of every breast health routine because early detection of breast cancer is your best defense. Your technician is well trained in mammography and will ensure your breast exam goes as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- On the day of the breast exam, do not apply lotions, deodorant, powder or perfume to your underarms or breasts, as they can show up on mammograms and make the images more difficult to read and interpret.
- Be prepared to remove all jewelry and undress from the waist up. We provide a comfortable robe.
- Expect the mammography technician to ask you to uncover one breast at a time and assist you to position your breast against the machine. She will compress the breast, ask you to take a breath and hold it while the image is taken. It may be slightly uncomfortable but is over quickly.
- After your mammogram is reviewed by a board-certified radiologist, a written report detailing results of your exam, will be sent to you and your physician.
All mammograms performed at our Breast Care Center are read and analyzed by board-certified radiologists here at our Denver facility.