What is Screening Mammography?

What is a Screening Mammogram?

A Mammogram is an X-ray picture of the inner structures of the breast taken to detect breast cancer. A Screening Mammogram is a Mammogram performed when you have no breast symptoms and is used to "screen" for an unsuspected abnormality. 

During a Screening Mammogram, at least two views are obtained of each breast using very low X-ray exposure. Utilizing the latest technology, Fairfax Radiology offers the highest quality digital imaging process, providing you and your physician a convenient and complete breast imaging experience—as well as peace of mind.

FRC now offers SmartCurve™ technology at most of our Breast Imaging locations. Many women can now have a screening mammogram with less pain, less pinch, and less discomfort.

SmartCurve™ paddle

SmartCurve™ features a uniquely curved paddle that mirrors the shape of a woman’s breast to reduce pinching and allow better distribution of compression over the entire breast. SmartCurve™ does have some patient limitations. In a recent clinical study comparing the SmartCurve™ paddle to traditional flat paddle compression, SmartCurve™ improved comfort in 93 percent of women who reported moderate to severe discomfort with standard compression.¹ 

¹Smith, A. Improving Patient Comfort in Mammography. Hologic WP-00119 Rev 003 (2017).

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Why would my physician recommend a Screening Mammogram?

Screening Mammograms are recommended annually for women beginning at the age of 40. A Mammogram may be recommended for women under 40 if they have a history of breast cancer in their family or are at risk for developing it. Screening Mammograms allow women to discover breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat.

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What should I expect during a Screening Mammogram?

If this is your first Mammogram, you may not be sure what to expect. Not to worry, we are here to guide you every step of the way. Do not wear any deodorant, perfume or powder on the day of your Mammogram, as it may show up on the Mammogram image. Before your Mammogram, we will ask you to undress above the waist and will provide a gown that opens in the front. The Technologist will position your breast in the machine in the proper positions. An upper plate will come down on your breast to compress and even out the tissue while images are taken. You may feel some discomfort with the compression, but this only takes a few seconds. At least two views of each breast will be taken: from the top and the side. However, additional views are sometimes needed after the Radiologist has interpreted the exam.

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Why would I need additional views?

Inconclusive results may occasionally require a patient to return for additional views, or special techniques such as magnification. If this happens to you, there is no reason to be alarmed. This is very common and our breast imaging staff is here to assist you in scheduling a convenient appointment as quickly as possible. If you need to return for an additional evaluation of a finding from your Screening Mammogram, you will be given the results of the extra views before you leave the office.

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What is Digital Mammography with CAD?

At Fairfax Radiology, Digital Mammography with Computer Aided Detection (CAD) is our primary imaging technique. Computer Aided Detection is used as an interpretive aid during the image review process. The CAD software analyzes the image and identifies areas of interest that the Radiologist will evaluate before issuing a final report.

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Is a Screening Mammogram covered by insurance?

Most insurance plans cover the cost of Screening Mammograms without copayments or deductibles, but be sure to contact your health insurance company for confirmation of the cost and coverage.

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How do I schedule a Screening Mammogram with Fairfax Radiology?

Contact our Scheduling Department for an appointment:

Phone: 703.698.4488 Monday through Friday 8am to 6pm

Fax: 703.698.0864

Or click here to self schedule your next mammogram

Please have your written physician order and your insurance card in hand when making your appointment.

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When are appointments offered for Screening Mammograms?

For your convenience, appointments are available mornings, afternoons, evenings and weekends at the locations listed above. Learn more about each location.

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How do I schedule a screening mammogram with SmartCurve™ at Fairfax Radiology? 

Fairfax Radiology offers SmartCurve™ at all our Breast Imaging locations every day, evenings and weekends. To schedule your screening mammogram and find out if you are a candidate for SmartCurve™, click here or call our Scheduling Department at 703.698.4488.

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Can I bring my children to my imaging appointment?

All imaging procedures require that only the patient remain in the room during the exam. Because the patient requires our full attention, we cannot provide supervision for any accompanying children. If you wish to bring your children, you must arrange for another adult to supervise your children during your procedure. Families of Obstetrical patients will be allowed in the room for a limited period of time, but only when an adult accompanies the minor children.

Related Resources

Patient Resources

Choose Lower Dose 3D today

3D mammography is beneficial for all women and for all breast densities. This brochure explains what a 3D mammogram is and why you should have one.

Learn more information about the life-saving importance of mammography

More information about mammography and breast cancer can be found on the patient resources page.

Mammography for Dense Breasts

Does it matter if you have dense breasts? Download this brochure to find out.

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What to expect when you have a mammogram

This informative video, provided by the American College of Radiology®, gives important information on what to expect before, during and after your mammography screening.

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Breast Cancer Screening 101

This informative video, provided by the American College of Radiology®, gives a look into the importance of annual mammography screening to prevent breast cancer deaths.

Having trouble finding information about screening mammograms?

Common questions, such as when to begin screening, and how often to screen, can be answered in this handout.

I wanted to take a moment today to say thank you.

I cruise over to your offices every year or so and typically I am scrambling to get there or forgetting a form or not sure where I put my health insurance card. Needless to say I’m not the model patient. I think all of that is because I’m nervous; regardless, that’s how I show up. I must say that over and over again your staff is superb. Not superb in that Ritz-Carlton way, but honestly they do hit that mark…more superb in that human, kind, joyful, good way. Donna and Sue deal with my disorganized self and are kind, lovely, professional, and there’s a spark of joy there. It’s almost like they’ve got a little life secret and its simmering below the surface. I’m so grateful for both of them.

In addition, I have been grateful for your staff beyond the front desk. LaWanda helped "smash" me today. I found her very professional and peaceful. She handled me so well and asked repeatedly if I was ok. My knees were literally shaking today. I don’t know if she noticed, but I do know she put the care in health care, just like Sue and Donna have done over the years.

I had to say thank you for your recruitment and retention of goodness, professionalism and care.

Thank you, of course, for your services…but thank you more for treating me like a human. My grandfather who I never met delivered babies during the depression for tomatoes, corn, sweet potatoes…my father who is 86 has spent a life time wondering where the care has gone…I’ll be glad to tell him about you and your staff when I see him later this month.

All my best to you. 

Susan K

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