With the increase in screening mammograms, more and more breast cancers are being caught in the earliest, most treatable stages. At The Everett Clinic, we provide digital mammography at our Everett, Mill Creek and Smokey Point locations. All of our sites offer a comfortable environment with a team of highly trained technologists who provide the utmost care and comfort for our patients.
What is a Mammogram?
A screening mammogram is a low-dose X-ray used to evaluate a woman’s breast health. It helps doctors see whether there are any abnormalities or changes in the breast tissue that may need treatment.
When should I start getting Mammograms?
A screening mammogram can help detect breast cancer in its early, most treatable, stages. The Everett Clinic follows the guideline of the US Preventive Services Task Force in recommending a mammogram every other year for women aged 50 to 74 years. The decision to start mammograms early or to have them more frequently is a personal decision based on your risk factors. Discuss this with your provider.
Why do I need a Mammogram?
A mammogram can make a big difference in your quality of life. Chances are it will simply reassure you that everything is fine. But, if something unusual does show up on your mammogram, you will have given yourself an incredible gift. Breast health problems found early are very treatable.
What can I expect?
When you make your appointment, we will ask you about your breast-health history. Please let your care provider know if you have breast implants, if you're nursing or pregnant, if you have any problems with your breasts or if you have any special needs.
For your mammogram, we will give you a robe and ask you to undress from the waist up. In a private room, you will stand in front of the mammography machine where one of our specially trained female technologists will position your breast on an adjustable platform that captures the image. A clear plastic plate will then gradually press down on your breast. Once your breast is positioned, it will be fully compressed for only a few seconds. Rest assured, breast compression is not harmful. It allows us to get a clear picture of your breast, using a very small X-ray dose. Generally, two X-rays are taken of each breast.
Will it hurt?
Most women who have had a mammogram will tell you that breast compression is uncomfortable, but not painful. It is a good idea, however, to schedule your mammogram when your breasts are least tender — typically two or three days following the end of your menstrual cycle.
What about radiation?
We use only the most modern mammography equipment — which uses a very low X-ray dose. Your risk from radiation exposure is very small compared to the benefit of finding a problem early.
Prior Mammogram images
To expedite your results, it is important to have prior mammogram images available for our radiologists. If your most recent mammogram images were performed outside The Everett Clinic or the Providence Breast Center, please arrange to have the past imaging reports sent prior to your mammogram exam.
When will I get the results?
Radiologists at The Everett Clinic use computer-aided detection (CAD) technology which increases the likelihood of detecting small or early stage cancers. If your mammogram raises any concerns, you and your doctor will be contacted immediately. Likewise, if you are worried about your mammogram, please let your doctor or our staff know.