Digital mammography

No longer offered at our Aurora Clinic.

To book an appointment, please call instead the Medical Arts Building (Southlake Hospital) at (905) 895-4521, extension x2665 or Mackenzie Health Hospital at (905) 883-2004 to book an appointment.

Please note: The Radiologists at our Aurora clinic continue to report at both hospitals and have direct access to your previous images and reports from the clinic.

What is digital mammography?

Mammography is a special X-ray test that examines breast tissue.  Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.  Digital Mammography creates electronic images of the breast, rather than an image on film.  These images can be viewed on a computer workstation, and can be stored and sent electronically.

What are the advantages of Digital Mammography?

Digital mammography uses less radiation than film mammography.  A recent large study, DMIST, showed that digital mammography was significantly better than film mammography in screening women under 50, or women of any age that had dense breasts.

Digital mammography is also more convenient for women.  Since electronic images are created almost instantaneously (compared with the relatively long time it takes to develop conventional film), appointment times are reduced significantly.  Also, the ability to save and store images electronically facilitates comparison with images from different institutions and the development of management and treatment plans for consulting physicians.

Who should get a mammogram?

  • In Ontario, it is recommended that women aged 50 and older have a screening mammogram, generally every two years
  • Evidence shows that women aged 50-69 benefit most from regular mammograms
  • The evidence for mammography for women aged 40-49 is not as clear as for women aged 50-69. Therefore, in Ontario it is recommended that women aged 40-49 talk to their doctor to make a personal decision about mammography
  • The time to go for screening is when you feel fine. If you are ever worried about any breast problem, see your doctor

How can I prepare for a mammogram?

  • Digital Mammography requires appointments.  Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment to register
  • The ideal time to schedule your mammogram is the week after your period, as this is the time when your breasts will be least tender
  • There is no special preparation for a mammogram
  • Please do not wear any deodorant, powder, lotion or perfume on your breast and underarms
  • If possible, obtain prior mammograms and bring them to your appointment.  This will aid the Radiologist in interpreting your current mammogram

How is a mammogram performed?

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire and change into a gown.  In the examination room, the technologist will position your breast in the mammography unit.  Your breast will be placed on a small platform and will be gradually compressed with a paddle.  The X-ray will be taken and the technologist will check the pictures.  Multiple views of both breasts will be obtained.

The entire process will take about 30 minutes.