Understanding mammography

Mammography uses a low dose of radiation to get high-resolution images.

Compression is used for three reasons:

  1. Separates structures within the breast to enable a more clear view of them.
  2. Gives a more consistent breast thickness, to enable adequate exposure to all parts of the breast.
  3. The thinner the part, the smaller the exposure (which means less radiation).

Breast Health Best Practices

  • Breast self-exams.
  • Routine clinical breast assessment (by your health practitioner).
  • Routine mammography.

Who can get a screening breast exam?

Women who are asymptomatic and between the ages of 50 and 75 do not require a doctor referral to have a mammogram.

Women under the age of 50 and over the age of 75 who have not had a screening mammogram before must have an initial referral (only for the first mammogram).

In ALL other cases a referral is required.

Who can get a diagnostic breast exam?

A doctor referral is required for all diagnostic mammograms. These would include:

  • Patients who have a breast symptom (new lump, new pain, new discharge etc…)
  • Patients who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer at any point in their life.
  • First mammogram post breast surgery (including post-benign biopsy).
  • All patients under 40.
  • Men.

What to expect

At the time of booking, please inform us of any prior mammography or other breast imaging.

Schedule your mammogram when your breasts are not tender or swollen to help reduce discomfort and get good pictures. Try to avoid the week just before your period.

On the day of the exam, do not wear deodorant or antiperspirant. Some of these contain substances that can mimic calcifications on the images. If you are wearing deodorant you will be asked to remove it.

You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up.

This exam typically takes 15 minutes.

As part of a province-wide mandate from the Alberta Cancer Board, CAMIS will send results letters directly to all screening patients.

Still Have Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about Mammography, please contact Tricia Adams, Mammography Manager at CAMIS.