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Mammograms

mammogramBreast cancer is much more treatable when detected in its early stages. Mammograms, a set of breast images taken with low dose X-rays, are effective routine screening tests that have been proven to find the disease early. For women with an average risk for developing breast cancer, a mammogram is the best breast cancer screening test available.

Our comfortable Breast Imaging facility at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) offers the very latest in digital mammography equipment, including computer-aided detection on all of our mammograms. This software assists the Breast Imaging radiologist in reading the mammogram images by using programs to point out areas that might be of concern.

Mammography machineWe also now offer 3-D mammography (digital breast tomosynthesis) to our BreastCare Center patients.
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Our radiologists are fellowship-trained in Breast Imaging and/or have more than 20 years of experience reading mammograms. Each radiologist is sub-specialized, meaning they spend nearly all of their time at the BreastCare Center reading breast images.

Types of Mammograms

Mammography image of healthy breast tissueA routine screening mammogram is taken on a regular basis, usually annually, to screen for changes in the breast. Several images of each breast are taken, from the top facing down and from the side.

A diagnostic mammogram is taken when an area of concern has been found in the breast. Though similar to a screening mammogram, diagnostic imaging usually includes extra breast images and additional manipulating of the breast tissue in order to examine the concerned area more closely.

Appointments Readily Available

For more information or to make an appointment:

  • Call 617-667-2900 (choose option 1) or 617-754-9500

We perform both diagnostic and routine screening mammograms at several locations in the Greater Boston Area. The same mammography equipment can be found at all of our locations, and the same highly-trained team of radiologists at BIDMC’s BreastCare Center read and interpret mammogram results from all of our other screening locations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mammograms

Dr. Tejas Mehta looking at breast imagesLearn more about the importance of mammograms and what you can expect during your screening with the answers to these questions and many more.

When should I get a mammogram?

Our BreastCare Center team supports the recommendations that women age 40 and older have an annual screening mammogram, unless they are determined to have a higher than average risk of developing breast cancer.
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How do I know if I am "at high risk" for developing breast cancer?

We consider a woman to be "at high risk" and strongly recommend screening before age 40 if she carries the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation; has a strong family history of breast cancer or has undergone mantle radiation therapy; or was diagnosed before age 40 with breast cancer, breast atypia, or ovarian cancer.
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Is a mammogram safe? Are mammograms safe for pregnant women?

Today's mammography equipment is designed so that radiation exposure is minimal. While we do not recommend screening mammography for pregnant women, it can also be performed, with little risk to the fetus, if an ultrasound shows a breast concern.
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What should I do to prepare for a mammogram?

On the day of your mammogram, you should not use talcum powder, perfume, lotion or deodorant on your breasts or underarms, as they will appear as specks in the images the radiologist reviews.
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What happens if my mammogram screening results come back abnormal?

A member of our Breast Imaging team will contact you to discuss the findings and schedule additional imaging. It is important to keep in mind that if this happens, it does not mean you have breast cancer.
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More Frequently Asked Questions »

Contact Information

Breast Imaging
Department of Radiology
Shapiro Building, Floor 4
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-667-2900 (choose option 1)
or 617-754-9500