Mammography

We know that when it comes to staying on top of your breast health, preventative care is a key part to staying healthy. We are here with the expertise and compassionate care to help you navigate your imaging journey.

Caring for you is our top priority. Our imaging centers in offer easy scheduling with flexible appointment times that work with your busy life. We advocate open communication between our experienced imaging staff and your doctor so you can get the exceptional care you need, when you need it.

What Is the Purpose of a Mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray image of the breast, which doctors use to look for early signs of breast cancer and other breast abnormalities. The imaging method is called mammography. It is used as both a diagnostic and screening tool.

What Happens During a Mammogram?

During a mammogram, a patient stands in front of a special medical X-ray machine while a technologist places the patient's breast on a flat plate. The breast is compressed with a parallel plate called a paddle, which holds it still while the X-ray is being taken. The process only takes a few seconds for each breast. This helps minimize blurring of the X-ray image that can be caused by movement. Compression also evens out the shape of the breast, so that the X-ray can travel a shorter path.

A small X-ray dose passes through the breast to a detector located on the opposite side. It can either be a photographic film plate or a solid-state detector, which produces images.

These steps are repeated for the other breast. For some women with breast implants or larger breasts, more images may be needed. The whole procedure generally takes about 20 minutes.

Your breasts may be more sensitive if you are about to have or currently having your period. Inform the technologists at once if you feel any pain.

What Are the Types of Mammograms?

There are two types of mammograms. Film-screen mammograms produce images in black and white on large sheets of film. Digital mammograms produce images directly onto a computer. Digital mammograms can be viewed on a computer screen where specific areas can be enlarged or highlighted. The images can be transmitted electronically from one location to another.

Both types are equally accurate in screening for breast cancer and other breast abnormalities. However, digital mammogram is a better screening tool for women:
  • under the age of 50
  • who have dense breast tissue
  • who are still menstruating or are perimenopausal

What Age Should a Woman Get a Mammogram?

The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for women of average risk (no personal or family history or genetic predisposition to breast cancer):

Age 40 to 44 - mammogram optional
Age 45 to 55 - annual mammogram
Age 55 and older - option for mammogram annually or every two years

Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on the following factors should get a breast MRI and a mammogram every year, starting at age 30:
  • Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation after having had genetic testing
  • Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister or child) with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation and have not had genetic testing themselves
  • Had chest radiation therapy when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years
  • Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes

Insurances Accepted

We accept a variety of insurance plans. For questions about your coverage, please contact your insurance provider directly.

What Does Digital Mammography Mean For You?

  • Improved imaging: With 3-D digital mammography, the magnification, orientation, brightness and contrast of the image helps the radiologist clearly see certain areas. Digital mammography is particularly beneficial if you have dense or thick breast tissue.
  • Less radiation: The radiation dose can be significantly reduced with digital mammography.
  • Reduced exam time: Digital spot view mammography allows faster and more accurate stereotactic biopsy as well as improved comfort.

Why Digital Mammography Screenings Are Important

  • Nearly 80 percent of all women diagnosed with breast cancer have no history of the disease in their families, and your risk increases with age.
  • Two-thirds of newly diagnosed breast cancers show no signs that the cancer has spread beyond the breast, and most women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer are candidates for treatment that saves the breast.

Learn More

Don’t wait another day to take care of your breast health! For more information on Valley Baptist’s women’s services, please contact one of our centers:

The Breast Center at Valley Baptist Medical Center—Brownsville
1040 West Jefferson St.
Brownsville, TX
Women's Center entrance, first floor
(956) 698-5412

The Breast Center at Valley Baptist Medical Center—Harlingen
2101 Pease St.
Harlingen, TX
Enter via Professional Building Entrance B
(956) 389-6703