What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of your breasts and is the most common imaging test to screen for breast cancer.

Mammograms can find cancer or other disorders early, before a lump can be felt or other early signs of breast cancer are present; therefore, allowing a diagnosis in the earliest stages of disease. Early detection results in better outcomes. In fact, based on recent data, average survival rates at five years for women diagnosed with breast cancer are 91% for localized disease and 85% for regional disease.

A mammogram detects tumors and calcium deposits in the breast. Most calcium deposits are not cancer, but a cluster of very tiny specks of calcium (microcalcifications) can be one of the early signs of breast cancer.

Health experts have different advice for when to get mammograms:

  • The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends yearly screening for all women ages 45 to 54.
    • Women 40 – 44 have the option of a mammogram
    • The ACS also suggests women ages 55 and older could change to screening mammograms every two years if they have a health history that supports such a decision.
  • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends screening every two years for women ages 50 to 74.

Although a mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer early, it may not always detect cancer. In some cases, it may find an abnormality that turns out not to be cancer—what is known as a false positive. Some people worry about radiation exposure, but levels are about the same as those you would be exposed to during a flight from New York to California. Women should talk with their doctor about their risk factors before deciding when to start and how often to get a mammogram.

Mammogram Tips:

  • Try to have your mammogram done by the same health group every year. Radiologists will be able to use past mammograms as a frame of reference.
  • If you are visiting a facility for the first time, arrange for previous mammograms to be forwarded to the new group, or bring copies of past mammograms.
  • Do not wear deodorant to your mammogram. Bring deodorant to your appointment to put on after. Often, facilities have deodorant available if you forget to bring it.
  • Mammograms are fast, and many women report just a few seconds of discomfort. If you are uncomfortable during the procedure, remember it takes less than a minute to take the x-ray.
  • Try to schedule mammograms around the periods of your menstrual cycle when you experience breast tenderness.

If your mammogram shows anything abnormal, you may be recalled for a diagnostic mammogram. This procedure is very similar to a screening mammogram. The main difference is that the radiologist will focus specifically on the locations of abnormalities and may use different mammogram equipment than a screening.

Would you like to schedule a mammogram? Find a breast center location near you.



Patient Stories

  • “We told Grace to feel her feelings and then look for the bright spot, rise up and move forward,” added mom Aubrey. “By encouraging Grace to bounce to the bottom and then come back up, she was able to truly feel the hardship and then consciously turn it ...

    Grace
    Read More
  • “The team at Community Medical Center was phenomenal. I have only good things to say about each of the doctors.”

    Sharon
    Read More

Patient Stories

  • Watch Testimonial
  • Watch Testimonial
Saint Barnabas Medical Center
94 Old Short Hills Road
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-5000
View
Monmouth Medical Center
300 Second Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 222-5200
View
The Unterberg Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center
300 Second Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 923-7250
View
Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus
600 River Avenue
Lakewood, NJ 08701
(732) 363-1900
View
Clara Maass Medical Center
1 Clara Maass Drive
Belleville, NJ 07109
(973) 450-2000
View
Community Medical Center
99 Highway 37 West
Toms River, NJ 08755
(732) 557-8000
View
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
View
Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
View
Jersey City Medical Center
355 Grand Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 915-2000
View
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at RWJUH
200 Somerset Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 828-3000
View
RWJ University Hospital Hamilton
1 Hamilton Health Place
Hamilton, NJ 08690
(609) 586-7900
View
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 828-3000
View
RWJ University Hospital Rahway
865 Stone Street
Rahway, NJ 07065
(732) 381-4200
View
RWJ University Hospital Somerset
110 Rehill Avenue
Somerville, NJ 08876
(908) 685-2200
View
The Jacqueline M. Wilentz Breast Center at Howell
4013 Route 9
Suite 2S
Howell, NJ 07731
(732) 923-7700
View
The Jacqueline M. Wilentz Breast Center at Lakewood
600 River Ave
Lakewood, NJ 08701
(732) 923-7700
View
Medical Specialty Services at Bayonne
16 East 29th Street
Bayonne, NJ 07002
(973) 926-7280
View
The Jacqueline M. Wilentz Breast Center at Colts Neck
310 Route 34 South
Second Floor
Colts Neck, NJ 07722
(732) 923-7700
View
The Jacqueline M. Wilentz Breast Center at Monmouth Medical Center
300 Second Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 923-7700
View
Cristie Kerr Women's Health Center
377 Jersey Avenue
Ground Floor, Medical Office Building
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(877) 393-5374
View
Center for Breast Health and Disease Management - Westfield
560 Springfield Ave
Westfield, NJ 07090
(973) 322-7020
View
Center for Breast Health and Disease Management - Metuchen
173 Essex Ave
Metuchen, NJ 08840
(732) 494-0415
View
Center for Breast Health and Disease Management - Livingston
200 South Orange Avenue
Suite 102
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-7020
View
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany St.
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 235-2465
View
The Family Health Center (FHC) at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
166 Lyons Avenue
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7300
View
Community Medical Center Women's Imaging Center - Toms River
368 Lakehurst Rd
1st Floor
Toms River, NJ 08755
(732) 557-8146
View
Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center
200 South Orange Avenue
Livingston, NJ 07039
(973) 322-7000
View
Monmouth Medical Center Outpatient Infusion Center
100 State Route 36 West
West Long Branch, NJ 07764
(732) 923-6575
View
Eric B. Chandler Health Center at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
277 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 235-6700
View
Eric B. Chandler Health Center Church St. Annex
123 Church Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 235-2052
View
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group at Monroe
800 Bunn Drive
Suite 303
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 655-5178
View
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group
18 Centre Drive
Clinical Academic Building (CAB)
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(609) 655-5178
View
Cancer Center at RWJ Hamilton
2575 Klockner Road
Hamilton Township, NJ 08690
(609) 631-6960
View
RWJUH Lab Services at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
First Floor
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 937-8588
View
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
125 Paterson Street.
Clinical Academic Building (CAB)
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 235-6200
View

Breast Cancer Treatment & Care

offered at these locations in your neighborhood

View All Locations