Different Types of Mammograms

We have dedicated breast care teams across California who provide different types of mammograms to help detect breast cancer early.

Book a Mammogram

Helping You Stay on Top of Your Breast Health

Desert Care Network offers comprehensive breast cancer screening services, including 3D mammograms, to help patients in different parts of California stay on top of their breast health. Whether you’re at an increased risk for breast cancer, are experiencing signs or symptoms of the disease or your doctor recommends that you get a mammogram, our physicians, mammographers and staff will cater to your needs with the compassion and expertise that makes us a community built on care.

What Is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray image of the breast performed to help detect early signs of breast cancer, sometimes as early as three years before symptoms arise. Mammogram screenings are highly recommended for women aged 50 to 74, but the American College of Radiology recommends women of average risk start scheduling annual mammogram screenings at age 40.

If you are at an increased risk for breast cancer, please coordinate with your doctor for a mammogram screening and frequency recommendations. Some factors that may increase your risk for breast cancer include the following:

  • Family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Dense breasts
  • Menstrual cycle before 12 and/or menopause after age 55
  • Genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
  • Personal history of breast cancer and/or a non-cancerous breast disease
  • Personal history of use of the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES)
  • Personal history of radiation therapy
  • Personal history of hormone replacement therapy
  • Age (50+ years)
  • Overweight or obese
  • Lack of exercise
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Pregnancy after age 30
  • Not breastfeeding
  • No full-term pregnancy

What Happens During a Mammogram Screening?

At Desert Care Network, we have attentive mammographers who will welcome you at the breast screening facility. Prior to your mammogram, our staff will obtain any personal and health information needed and explain the screening procedure. This is the best time to raise any questions or concerns you may have.

A mammogram often takes just a few minutes. On the actual screening itself, here are some of the things you are more likely to experience:

  • You need to undress above the waist and you will be given a gown or cover for the screening.
  • The mammographer will place one of your breasts onto the mammogram machine and then lower a plate onto each breast to gently flatten it and keep it still. This also helps ensure a clear X-ray image.
  • The mammographer usually gets two X-rays of each breast, one from the side and one from above.

Note: Some women may find the screening uncomfortable, but compression is necessary to get a clear mammogram. The breast is quite challenging for imaging because it has tissues of different densities, glandular tissue edged in fat. Any discomfort may last for only a few minutes.

What Are the Different Types of Mammogram?

There are two main types of mammogram for early breast cancer detection. These types are as follows:

  1. Digital mammography

    This is an advanced type of mammography that uses X-ray beams to get an image of the breast that are sent to an image receptor. The X-ray data is then converted to a digital photo which will be stored and read in a computer. Digital mammography has two common subtypes: 2D and 3D mammograms (also known as tomosynthesis).

    3D Mammograms vs. 2D Mammograms

    One of the differences between the two is that during a 3D mammogram the mammographer takes multiple photos of the breast from many different angles, while in a 2D mammogram, the mammographer  only takes images from the side of the breast and from top to bottom.

    Our doctors at Desert Care Network usually recommend 3D mammograms, especially for those with dense breast tissue, because the images of the  underlying breast tissue are clearer  compared to 2D mammograms. 3D mammograms may also contribute in a decreased number of false positives.

  2. Screen-film mammography

    This is the traditional type of mammogram. Just like digital mammography, screen-film mammography uses X-ray beams to get an image of the breast, but the image is in black and white and saved on a large sheet of film, whereas digital images are recorded directly into a computer

    Schedule a Breast Cancer Screening

    Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer among women in the United States. In fact, one in eight women in the U.S is predicted to be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life. The good thing is, there are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the country. One of the best ways to survive breast cancer is to detect it in its early stages through a mammogram, during stage 0 when the cancer is still in the location of its inception and hasn’t spread yet in other parts of the breast or other parts of the body.

    At Desert Care Network, we offer 3D mammograms for clearer and more efficient detection of breast cancer. Patients from the Coachella Valley can schedule a mammogram at Desert Regional’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, which has locations in Palm Springs (760-416-4700) and La Quinta (760-771-6158). Residents of the high desert communities can schedule a mammogram on the campus of Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree (760-366-6358).

    Aside from 3D mammograms, Desert Care also offers the following screening services:

    • Bone density screenings
    • Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Breast ultrasound
    • Digital diagnostic mammography
    • Myriad genetic testing for breast cancer
    • Stereotactic biopsies
    • Ultrasound-guided biopsies

Breast Cancer Quiz

How much do you know about breast cancer? Could you be at risk?

Book a Mammogram

Take a step towards staying on top of your breast health. You may also call 833-430-8586 to directly schedule an appointment.

Diagnostic Imaging