Mammography is the only screening method proven to reduce cancer deaths. This simple exam uses low-dose X-rays to evaluate breast tissue, often detecting cancer long before a lump can be felt. And with one in eight women facing a breast cancer diagnosis, early detection is essential to positive outcomes. We strongly recommend annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40.
The technology you need. The care you deserve.
Eastern Radiologists is committed to providing the most advanced technology and comprehensive patient care. Digital mammography continues to be the standard of care; however, studies have shown that some women can benefit greatly from tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography™. Eastern Radiologists offers both. Couple that with our board-certified, subspecialized radiologists, and you have a group that is uniquely qualified to manage your breast health needs.
Our facilities are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR), and our Breast Imaging Center, hub to 14 mammography sites, has been recognized by the ACR as a Breast Center of Excellence since 2007. Additionally, we’ve been trusted by Vidant Health hospitals and outpatient clinics for decades. Wherever you choose to have your mammogram, we urge you to check the qualifications of the entire team to ensure the highest level of care.
3D Mammography™ (Tomosynthesis).
This breakthrough in breast imaging utilizes advanced imaging technology to produce a 3D image of the breast. Instead of the two pictures taken of each breast with 2D mammography, a sequence of images is taken of each breast from different angles. This provides a more detailed and accurate view of the breast and reveals structures that may be obscured by conventional mammography. 3D mammography™ also reduces the frequency of return visits by providing a clearer and more detailed image of the breast tissue. Tomosynthesis has been shown to improve cancer detection, especially with the more aggressive and potentially fatal invasive cancers. It’s most useful for women with dense breast tissue or a greater amount of glandular tissue in their breasts (as dense tissue patterns can limit the sensitivity of standard 2D mammography).
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a physician’s order to have a mammogram?
Screening mammograms do not require a physician’s order; however, diagnostic mammograms do. Please be sure to notify our schedulers if you are having problems with your breasts so that we may schedule the correct exam.
When do I need a mammogram?
We recommend that women with no signs or symptoms of breast disease begin annual mammograms at age 40. Women with family history should consult their physicians, as they may be advised to start mammograms earlier than 40.
Should I opt for traditional digital mammography, or 3D mammography™ (tomosynthesis)?
Traditional 2D mammography remains the standard of breast care; however, women with dense breast tissue or women with no prior mammogram may benefit from the added visualization 3D affords radiologists. Talk to your doctor about which one is right for you.
What about new recommendations of beginning mammograms at 45?
While the American Cancer Society now recommends annual screening mammograms for women 45+, the recommendations of breast health experts have not changed. The American College of Radiology (ACR), American College of Surgeons, Society for Breast Imaging, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), along with a list of other frontrunners in the field, maintain that 40 is the appropriate age for women to begin routine annual mammograms. Eastern Radiologists supports this recommendation as well. Because women in their 40s DO get breast cancer, and because 75% of breast cancer diagnoses have no family history. We strongly urge all women to begin routine annual mammograms at 40.
How long is a mammography appointment?
The entire exam should take just 20 to 30 minutes.
Is getting a mammogram painful?
In order to lower the radiation dose, minimize motion, and separate overlapping breast tissue, your breast must be compressed for a few seconds during the x-ray. While this may be slightly uncomfortable, it should not be painful. Our goal is always to perform the highest quality mammogram in the fastest time possible with minimal discomfort.
Will mammograms detect all breast cancers?
Although mammography is currently the best tool for detecting breast cancer, approximately 10% of all breast cancers are not detected on mammograms. Best practice is a combination of monthly self breast examination, regular visits to your physician and yearly mammograms beginning at age 40.
Can I request that Eastern Radiologists read my mammogram at Vidant Health?
Yes. Eastern Radiologists has a decades-long relationship with Vidant Health. We've been interpreting mammograms at Vidant Health facilities for years, and patients can certainly request that their films be read by one of our subspecialized radiologists. Additionally, we offer the most comprehensive array of follow-up services, from diagnostic imaging and breast MRI to biopsy.
Preparing for Your Appointment
Mammograms are most effective when radiologists can compare your current images with those of a prior exam. Please bring any outside mammograms to your appointment.
For the exam, we recommend wearing a two-piece outfit with a top that is easy to remove. Please refrain from using deodorant, powder or lotion in the breast area or underarms, as these may interfere with the quality of the mammogram.