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What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray image of your breast. It is used to find and diagnose breast disease in women. Your doctor may order a mammogram if you have a breast problem such as a lump, pain, or discharge from a nipple. Your doctor may also order one as a screening test. The test can look for breast cancers, noncancerous or benign tumors, and cysts before they can be felt.

Why might I need a mammogram?

You may need a mammogram as a screening test or to help your doctor make a diagnosis. If you are older than 25, you should have a mammogram if you have these symptoms:

•A lump
•Thickened skin on your breast
•Skin indentation on your breast
•A nipple with leaking fluid, or discharge
•A sore on a nipple that doesn’t get better
•Breast pain

When to get a mammogram

Different health experts have different recommendations for women who have no symptoms of breast cancer:
•The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening every 2 years for women ages 50 to 74.
•The American Cancer Society recommends screening be an option for women who are at average risk, starting at age 40. Mammograms should be done every year for all women ages 45 to 54. Then you can switch to mammograms every 2 years. Or you have the choice to continue annual mammograms.

What are the risks of a mammogram?

A mammogram is done with X-rays, which use a small amount of radiation. 

3D Mammography 


San Juan Regional Medical Center is pleased to offer digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography, the most advanced medical technology in the quest for earlier detection of breast cancer. As a Mammography Accredited Facility, San Juan Regional Medical Center’s gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. For our patients’ convenience, we offer 3D mammography in two convenient locations: the hospital and Outpatient Diagnostic Center on 30th Street. Learn more about the benefits of this advanced technology below.

1. What is digital breast tomosynthesis?
Digital tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography, is an advanced form of mammography that images the breast in thin one millimeter slices. This allows radiologists to look for abnormalities in many different areas of the breast compared to 2D mammography, which shows the length and depth of the breast from just two angles.

2. Who should get 3D mammography?
3D mammography is particularly helpful for women with dense breast tissue, a strong family history of breast cancer, a history of fibrocystic changes and women who are regularly called for additional tests. Clinical research supports that 3D mammography is a benefit to all patients regardless of differences in breast density.

3. What are the advantages of having a digital tomosynthesis exam if I am visiting for a routine screening mammogram?
Tomosynthesis helps to distinguish normal overlapping tissue from an underlying mass, and can lead to a more accurate diagnosis. Tomosynthesis reduces the chances of screening patients having to return for additional imaging tests. Research has shown that when 3D imaging is added to standard 2D imaging, there is a 37 percent reduction in unnecessary patient callbacks.

4. What are the differences in the actual procedures?
While in compression, the mammogram and tomosynthesis are obtained at the same time. Getting a 3D mammogram does not add time to your procedure. There is no discomfort difference between a 2D and 3D mammogram screening. The radiation dose is equivalent between tomosynthesis and the traditional mammogram. When performing both 2D and 3D screenings, the total radiation dose will be double, but still well below the FDA regulated limit.

5. Does insurance pay for tomosynthesis?
Yes, most insurance pays for 3D mammography screening. Check with your provider. Otherwise, out-of-pocket costs range between $50 and $100.

Call 505.609.6228 today to schedule your appointment.


Digital Mammography-SensorySuite


Not Your Garden Variety Mammogram

San Juan Regional Medical Center introduces a whole new way to have a digital mammogram.Our state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging not only gives you the best digital images, it also gives you the ability to control your environment. Select from Seaside, Garden, or Waterfall to enjoy the sights, sounds, and scents of a more pleasant mammogram experience.

Call  505.609.6228 today to schedule your appointment for a screening in our SensorySuite, where beauty and comfort meet better health.
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