It’s easy to put off a mammogram if you’re worried about what the screening might be like or what the results might show. But most women find that mammograms are more comfortable than they anticipated. Plus, mammograms are the best way to get peace of mind about your breast health.
That’s because mammograms are done before you have symptoms of breast cancer. Mammograms can detect breast cancer in its earliest, most curable stages when lumps are too small for you or your doctor to feel and before any other symptoms develop. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer found at Stage 0 or Stage 1 is 100 percent.
At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, we’re making it easier for you to get preventive screenings with convenient options like walk-in appointments and the latest in mammogram technology, close to home.
Mammograms are also available via our Mammo a-go-go mobile mammography unit, which travels to many clinic locations throughout the Twin Cities.
Get started by scheduling a mammogram. Many next-day mammogram appointments are available. We also offer same-day mammograms at many HealthPartners and Park Nicollet mammography sites. Please choose between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram.
Mammograms use X-rays to see the tissue inside your breasts. To get the best possible image, the machine compresses the breast tissue and takes pictures from different angles. Doctors then examine the X-rays looking for any areas of concern. We perform 2D mammograms, the industry standard, but also perform 3D mammograms. 3D mammograms, also called breast tomosynthesis, use multiple images to create a three-dimensional picture of the breast.
If the radiologist sees anything that requires a closer look, they’ll let you know and discuss next steps. Remember that many things show up on mammograms – not just cancer. In fact, most breast changes that happen over time are not cancer. Things like benign (non-cancerous) lumps, cysts and even dense breast tissue can appear as areas of concern on mammogram images.
There are several types of mammograms:
Screening mammograms – These mammograms are used to look for early signs of breast cancer screenings.
Diagnostic mammograms – These mammograms create more images than screening mammograms so doctors can take an even closer look. You might need a diagnostic mammogram if your screening mammogram results show an area of concern, if your doctor notices an area of concern, or if you have breast symptoms, like breast pain.
As you plan for your appointment, here are a few things to know about mammograms.
Schedule your mammogram for a time when your breasts aren’t likely to be tender. Your breasts are most likely to be tender the week before and the week during your period. It’s a good idea to schedule your mammogram for the week after your period (if you haven’t gone through menopause yet).
Let us know where you had your past mammograms. If you're going to a new facility for your mammogram, let us know where your previous mammograms took place. We’ll ask for your permission so we can collect those images for you and use them to provide more information about your medical history.
Skip the deodorant. Fine metallic particles in some deodorants can appear on your mammogram and make it hard to read your results. That’s why we ask you not to use deodorant before your mammogram. If you forget, it’s not a problem. All locations have complimentary wipes so you can remove it. We also have complimentary deodorant for you to use afterward.
There is some pressure applied to your breasts, but it’s generally over in a few minutes. If you have questions about the mammogram or are concerned it will be painful, please ask us. We’re happy to answer all of your questions and do our best to keep you as comfortable as possible.
The American College of Radiology says that women should get yearly mammograms starting at age 40.
Of course, it’s best to talk with your doctor about what’s right for you. You might want to start earlier, though, if you’re at increased risk for breast cancer or if you have concerns.
Women often worry that they can’t get mammograms in certain situations. You can still get a mammogram if you:
Your mammogram might cost nothing. Most health plans cover preventive breast cancer screenings at 100 percent.
We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others.
Not sure what your insurance covers? Call the number on the back of your card for help looking at your options.
Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are the member services numbers to common insurance providers: