A mammogram is a safe and effective x-ray technique to image the breast. The radiation exposure at Norfolk General Hospital is very low.   During the examination a special device is used to compress or flatten your breast. This helps to make clearer x-rays of your breast with much less radiation. Compression is not dangerous. It does not permanently damage your breast in any way. Brief compression of the breast may cause mild discomfort but most women do not consider it painful. The sensation is one of pressure or tightness and it lasts for just seconds. The technologist is trained to apply appropriate compression to obtain the best possible exam.

Click here for your Mammogram Requisition form

Why do I need a Mammogram?

This examination is done for two reasons:

1. Screening

  • for women who appear healthy and have no symptoms
  • 70% of women with breast cancer have no family history
  • As a woman gets older her chances of developing breast cancer increases

2. Diagnostic

  • For women who have signs or symptoms of breast disease that may include lumps in the breasts (most lumps are not cancerous), thickening of the breast, dimpling of the skin, nipple discharge, or nipple changes

Why do I need a history sheet?

The information on the sheet aids the radiologist in making a more accurate diagnosis. The mammography technologist will assist you with any questions you may have. A history sheet is required for each examination.

Before the Mammogram- how should I prepare?

  • Bring the requisition and your health card to the Diagnostic Imaging Department to register for your test
  • Register 15 minutes prior to your appointment time
  • Follow all instructions on your requisition carefully
  • Consult with your doctor about any medications you are taking, if you have any allergies, and any special preparation required
  • Inform your doctor and the technologist about any chance of pregnancy
  • If premenopausal, book your mammogram in day 1 to 14 of your menstrual cycle
  • Refrain from ingesting caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate) for 72 hours before your appointment to minimize discomfort
  • Do not wear deodorant on the day of your test, or use talcum or baby powder.
  • If you have a language/communication barrier, bring someone to assist you
  • You will be asked to change into a gown for the test, so wear a blouse or sweater to change only from the waist up. If you need assistance to change, please bring someone to assist you
  • Avoid wearing jewelry such as a necklace, which may interfere with the mammogram
  • Any questions or concerns, call 519-429-6974 (local)
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