Is a Mammogram Right For You?


There’s conflicting information about mammograms circulating. This has led to some confusion over when women should get a mammogram, and how often women should get a mammogram. Mammograms help save lives. The Breast Center recommends annual screening mammograms for women starting at age 40.

What is a mammogram?

Mammograms use X-rays and provide radiologists with an image of the internal structure of the breasts. Mammography detects changes in the breast such as calcifications, tumors, or other signs that may indicate breast cancer. Mammograms also assess breast density.

There are two types of mammograms.

Screening mammograms are done when there’s no sign of abnormality in the breasts.

Diagnostic mammograms are done after a screening mammograms indicates that there’s a problem in the breasts or when there is a symptom, like a lump, thickening or nipple discharge, for instance.

Mammography is important because it can detect changes in the breast that are too small or difficult to detect during a physical examination. Mammograms can detect cancer in its earliest stages when the cancer is most treatable. Early detection greatly increases breast cancer survival rates.

When should women get a mammogram?

The Breast Center recommends annual screening mammograms for women starting at age 40. Screening mammograms are typically covered by most health insurance plans.

If the results on your screening mammogram suggest that there’s a problem,  a diagnostic mammogram is needed. 

Talk to your doctor

If you’re considering mammography, or if you have any questions about mammography or breast health, talk to your primary care provider or your gynecologist. Your doctor can answer your questions and help you establish a plan for your breast health.

The Breast Center’s guidelines for mammography apply to all women age 40 or older, but some women are at a higher risk for breast cancer than others. Women at a higher risk for breast cancer may need to start screening sooner. Talking to your doctor is the best way to establish a plan that’s right for your health needs.

The Breast Center offers screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms in Fayetteville and Bentonville.

Contact Renaissance Women’s Healthcare to meet with a gynecologist in Northwest Arkansas.