About Mammography

*Inner Images does not screen women who are nursing and who have breast implants.

Recommendations provided by the American Cancer Society
for Early Breast Cancer Detection*

  • Women age 40 and older should have an annual screening mammogram for as long as they are healthy, with no set age to discontinue.
  • Evidence has confirmed that annual mammograms offer substantial benefit for women and the probability of the early detection of cancer.
  • Women in the twenties and thirties should have a Clinical Breast Exam (CBE) as part of a routine health exam by a licensed clinical professional every 3 years.

What to Expect When you get a Mammogram

  • Having a mammogram requires that you undress above the waist. A gown will be provided by the facility for you to wear.
  • A technologist will be present to position your breasts for the mammogram. All technologists are women. You and the technologist are the only ones present during the mammogram.
  • The whole procedure takes less than 5 minutes. The actual breast compression only lasts a few seconds.
  • You will feel some discomfort when your breasts are compressed, and for some women compression can be painful. Try not to schedule a mammogram when your breasts are likely to be tender, as they may be just before or during your period.
  • Only 2 to 4 mammograms of every 1,000 lead to a diagnosis of cancer. About 10% of women who have a mammogram will require more tests, and the majority only need an additional mammogram. Don't panic if this happens to you. Only 8% to 10% of those women will need a biopsy, and most (80%) of those biopsies will not be cancer.

Mammogram Results

Mammogram Results (What to Expect)

The American College of Radiology, ACR has developed a standard way of describing mammogram findings. In this system, the results are given a code (numbered 0 through 6). This system is called the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BIRADS). Having a standard way of reporting mammogram results lets doctors use a consistent language and ensures better follow up of suspicious findings.

• Category 0: Additional Imaging Evaluation and/or Comparison to Prior Mammograms Is Needed.
A possible abnormality may not be completely seen or defined and will need more tests, such as the use of spot compression, magnification views, special mammogram views, or ultrasound.

• Category 1: Negative
In this case, there is no significant abnormality to report. The breasts appear the same (symmetrical) with no masses, architectural distortion, or suspicious calcifications.

• Category 2: Benign (Non-cancerous) Finding
This is also a negative mammogram, but the reporting doctor chooses to describe a finding known to be benign, such as benign calcifications, intramammary lymph nodes, or calcified fibroadenomas. This ensures that others viewing the mammogram will not misinterpret this benign finding as suspicious. This finding is recorded in the mammogram report for use in future mammogram assessments.

• Category 3: Probably Benign Finding – Follow-up in a Short Time Frame Is Suggested
The findings placed in this category have a very high probability (greater than 98%) of being benign. The findings are not expected to change over a period of follow-up. Since it is not proven benign, it is helpful to see if an area of concern changes over time. Follow-up with repeat imaging is usually done in 6 months and regularly thereafter until the finding is known to be stable (usually at least 2 years). This approach helps avoid unnecessary biopsies but allows for early diagnosis of a cancer should the suspicious area change over time.

• Category 4: Suspicious Abnormality – Biopsy Should Be Considered
Findings do not definitely look like cancer but could be cancer. The radiologist has sufficient concern to recommend a biopsy. The findings in this category can have a wide range of suspicion levels.

• Category 5: Highly Suggestive of Malignancy – Appropriate Action Should Be Taken
The findings look like cancer and have a high probability (at least 95%) of being cancer. Biopsy is very strongly recommended.

• Category 6: Known Biopsy-Proven Malignancy – Appropriate Action Should Be Taken
This category is only used for findings on a mammogram that have already been determined to be cancerous by a previous biopsy.