CommonSpirit Health is committed to providing high-quality, advanced digital mammography, including 3D mammograms, that help detect early signs of breast cancer.


CommonSpirit Health is committed to providing high-quality, advanced digital mammography, including 3D mammograms, that help detect early signs of breast cancer.

Cheryl Ammeter, Mammography

Mammograms save lives!

Mammography & breast imaging services

Women who are 40 or older with an average risk of breast cancer should have a screening mammogram and clinical breast exam every year. Some women, because of their family history, a genetic tendency or other factors, may need a mammogram at an earlier age or breast MRI in addition to a mammogram. While monthly breast self-exams are no longer recommended by the American Cancer Society, all women should be aware of how their breasts normally look and feel and report any change or abnormality to their health care provider.

How often should I get a mammogram?

Women ages 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year, as well as a clinical breast exam. Women at increased risk due to a strong family history of breast cancer should ask their physician about screening before age 40 as well as about the frequency of screening.

What should I know about breast density? 

While it may sound scary, having dense breast tissue is in no way uncommon nor abnormal. However, women with dense breasts have a four to six times higher risk of developing breast cancer than women with minimal density. A mammogram can tell you the category of your breast density. Breast density (ratio of fatty vs. glandular/fibrous tissue) is recognized as a strong and independent risk factor for breast cancer.

How do I prepare for a mammogram appointment?

  • Schedule your mammogram appointment for one week after your period. This timing helps ensure a more comfortable exam as your breasts are less tender after your period.
  • Wear a shirt with shorts, pants or a skirt. That way, you can undress from the waist up and leave your shorts, pants or skirt on when you get your mammogram.
  • Don't wear any deodorant, perfume, lotion or powder under your arms or on your breasts on the day of your mammogram appointment. These things can make shadows show up on your mammogram. 
  • Provide previous mammography films/images. We can help you get them if they’re located at another facility.
  • While exam times may vary depending on the individual, typical exam times are as follows:
    • Exam time for screening mammogram: about 25 minutes 
    • Exam time for diagnostic mammogram: about 45 minutes 

Why choose digital mammography?

Peace of mind. A digital screening mammogram is the single most effective method for early detection since it can identify breast cancer several years before a lump can be felt or before other symptoms are present. Our breast centers offer advanced breast cancer screening with digital mammography, which produces a clearer image than traditional mammograms to help detect early signs of breast cancer. 

How accurate is a mammogram? 

Mammograms will find most, but not all breast cancers. Overall, mammography will detect about 85 percent of breast cancers.

What’s the difference between a diagnostic and screening mammogram?

A screening mammogram is your annual mammogram performed every year. If your screening comes back with any unclear areas, your radiologist may ask you to come back for follow-up images, known as a diagnostic mammogram. Additional imaging is used to rule out any unclear areas found on the screening. Diagnostic exams are also performed whenever an issue is identified in the breast by you or your health care provider. A diagnostic mammogram requires a written order from your health care provider.

Should I be concerned about radiation? 

The benefits of mammography outweigh any possible harm from the radiation exposure. Modern machines use low radiation doses that expose you to no more radiation than what you’d experience from background radiation walking around your natural environment for a few weeks.

What’s more, all CommonSpirit breast centers are accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and the American College of Radiology, which means you can rest assured you’re in a facility that meets standards for imaging quality and safety.

3D mammography & breast density

3D mammography has increased the detection of invasive breast cancers by 40 percent, reduced false-positive rates by 15 percent and has created 40 percent fewer call backs for additional testing. And for women with dense breasts, the latest technology offers imaging with even greater accuracy.