Breast Imaging: Screening Mammogram

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We offer the full breadth of services to screen for and diagnose breast cancer. To learn more about breast imaging services, call 310-301-6800.

What is a screening mammogram?

A screening mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast to help detect breast cancer. The mammogram is called a “screening” mammogram when the patient has no symptoms.

What kind of screening mammograms do you offer - 2D or 3D Tomosynthesis?

We offer 2D and 3D (digital breast tomosynthesis) screening mammography. 3D mammography has been shown to decrease call back rates and improve sensitivity of detecting invasive cancers.

Click here to find out more about the benefits of 3D mammography (Tomosynthesis)

What is the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram?

When the patient presents with a complaint or symptom, the mammogram is a diagnostic mammogram. Diagnostic mammograms are also performed when the patient returns for a possible abnormality seen on a screening mammogram or for a follow up from a prior mammogram.

Do I need a specialized study if I have dense breasts?

You may have heard from your health care provider that you may have dense breasts. Dense breast tissue is common but may mask an underlying breast cancer on mammography. 3D digital breast tomosynthesis improves evaluation of dense breast tissue and should be considered instead of 2D digital mammography in women with dense breasts. Click here to find out more about 3D Mammography.

If you have no other symptoms and are considering a second exam to further evaluate your dense breast tissue, we recommend supplemental screening ultrasound which detects approximately 4 additional cancers per 1000 women examined. If you are already at high risk for the development of breast cancer and have dense breast tissue, then supplemental contrast enhanced breast MRI should be considered. For more information about dense breast:

How often should I have a screening mammogram?

You should talk to your doctor about your risk of breast cancer and how often to get screened. The type and frequency of screening depends on your personal history, family history, and other risk factors. UCLA Breast Imaging recommends annual screening mammography in order to save the most lives.

Who reads my screening mammogram?

Your mammogram will be interpreted by a radiologist specializing in breast imaging. These results will be sent to your doctor and a follow up letter to you.

Can I schedule my screening mammogram online?

Online scheduling via MyChart is available for qualified patients returning to UCLA Health for Screening Breast Mammograms. Click here to log into MyChart and schedule your screening mammogram online today!

What to expect during my exam?

  • On the day of your exam, we recommended not using deodorant, perfume, powder or creams on your breasts or underarm area. Using these products can interfere with the quality of the images.
  • If you have images from an outside facility, please bring these images to your screening appointment. Outside images are important to evaluate for changes in the breast tissue.
  • Two images of each breast will be taken. Pressure will be applied while taking the picture. Although pressure may be uncomfortable, it is essential to obtain diagnostic quality images. The pressure will not damage the breast tissue.
  • We use the latest mammography technology to limit radiation exposure.
  • Your exam will take approximately 10-15 minutes. 

What happens if my screening mammogram is abnormal?

If you are called back for additional pictures, the reason is to evaluate for a possible abnormality. You will asked to schedule an appointment for a diagnostic mammogram and/or diagnostic ultrasound. An ultrasound may or may not be performed depending on the initial abnormality.

Radiology Central Scheduling Header Image

Radiology Central Scheduling

  • Phone: (310) 301-6800
  • Fax: (310) 794-9035
  • Hours of Operation:
    7:00 am - 7:00 pm, Mon - Fri
  • Online scheduling via MyChart is available for qualified patients returning to UCLA Health for Screening Breast Mammograms. Click here to log into MyChart and schedule your screening mammogram online today!

Breast Imaging at UCLA provides a full range of high quality and innovative breast imaging studies, treatments and procedures to the greater Los Angeles area. We are currently located in Westwood, Santa Monica, Santa Clarita, Toluca Lake, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes, and Westlake Village. Click here to learn more about all of our locations.