Mammography

Make regular mammograms part of your lifelong breast care routine. Trust Essentia Health for high-quality mammography provided by compassionate experts who help make the experience as comfortable as possible.

What’s a Mammogram?

A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray picture of your breast.

Routine screening mammograms can help your provider detect breast cancer before you have symptoms. Diagnostic mammograms help identify cancer after you or your provider notice warning signs, such as a breast lump.

3-D Mammograms

In some Essentia locations, you may have the option for a 3-D mammogram, also called tomosynthesis. This advanced imaging test takes many pictures from several angles. A computer then produces a 3-D image that can be sliced and scrolled through, like pages in a book. That means the radiologist can examine your breast tissue layer by layer.

A 3-D mammogram takes just a few seconds longer than a traditional 2-D mammogram. It may help your doctor more accurately detect invasive breast cancers. Ask your provider if you’d benefit from a 3-D mammogram.

Do I Need a Mammogram?

When breast cancer is caught early, it’s easier to treat. That’s why Essentia Health recommends women with an average risk of developing breast cancer get a mammogram every year beginning at age 40. You and your doctor may decide that you need mammograms less often after you turn 75.

In Minnesota, the following locations participate in the Sage Screening Program, which offers free mammograms to women who meet eligibility requirements:

  • Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Baxter Clinic
  • Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center (Brainerd)

If you’re at high risk of developing breast cancer, work with your provider to determine the best screening plan for you.

Medical Insight: Mammograms Video Transcript

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Text, Medical Insight.

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SPEAKER: Welcome to Medical Insight, a weekly health care feature brought to you by the experts at Essentia Health.

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(DESCRIPTION)
The host, Maureen Talarico speaks to the camera near a row of bookshelves.

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MAUREEN TALARICO: As a family medicine physician, Dr. Suzy Anderson knows the importance of routine cancer screenings. Today on Medical Insight, she talks about breast cancer screenings and how she and her patients discuss getting a mammogram.

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Dr. Suzy Anderson, family medicine physician, speaks to the camera.

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DR. SUZY ANDERSON: Well, when I'm looking at patients, I often ask, do you have any concerns about your breasts? And I'll do a clinical breast exam on them in clinic. And then looking at their age, I'll say, you are now over the age of 40, and we do recommend a mammogram on a yearly basis. Is this something you're interested in doing? And if they have questions, we'll talk more about why I recommend it and how to get them set up for it. MAUREEN TALARICO: Dr. Anderson says mammograms are helpful for detecting breast cancer at the earliest stage possible, improving the chances that it can be treated successfully. DR. SUZY ANDERSON: The big thing with breast cancer is if we can catch it early, which means if we can catch it localized to the breast, the chance of survival is really, really high. MAUREEN TALARICO: Her patients are also reminded to pay attention to any changes that may take place in their breasts, and to come back to see her to make sure it's nothing serious. DR. SUZY ANDERSON: When I talk to patients, I recommend that they know what their breasts are like. Everybody's breasts are different. So it's important for them to know what theirs are like, and that will help them know if there's a change. So if you notice something-- I don't care if it's a day after you had your mammogram, if you notice something, you go in and get it checked. MAUREEN TALARICO: Dr. Anderson says many women are still not sure when to start getting mammograms. But her recommendations are pretty simple to follow. DR. SUZY ANDERSON: I recommend know what your breasts are like, and if there's a change, come get it checked out.

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Two health providers review a mammogram on a pair of monitors.

(SPEECH)
If you're at average risk, start getting mammograms at age 40, and do it yearly. MAUREEN TALARICO: For Medical Insight, I'm Maureen Talarico. SPEAKER: To learn more about this topic, call our experts at 786-3107, or log on to essentiahealth.org.

Your Mammogram: What To Expect

When it’s time for your mammogram, let our team help put you at ease. We will explain the imaging process each step of the way, answer your questions, and help you feel as relaxed as possible.

Your mammogram will be read by a radiologist. If it shows an area of concern, further diagnostic tests, such as additional imaging or a biopsy may be recommended.

Medical Insight: Mammograms - Essentia Health Video Transcript

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The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Medical Insight. Several scenes depicting female patients visiting with their health providers

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TRACY BRIGGS: For most women, it probably ranks up there with a trip to the dentist-- getting your first or yearly mammogram is not the most fun, but it can be one of the most important things you can do for your health. However, according to Amanda Behr from Essentia Health in Fargo, many women, especially new to mammography, are a little wary about what to expect.

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Amanda Behr, breast imaging specialist, speaks to the camera.

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AMANDA BEHR: A lot of times, women are nervous, scared. Sometimes it's about the exam itself. You know, the compression that we'll use if it's going to hurt or not. Generally, by the time we're done with the exam, people think that, well, it wasn't that bad.

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TRACY BRIGGS: Behr says it should take about 10 to 15 minutes for two images of each breast. She has these tips to make the process go smoothly that day. Don't wear deodorant or lotion, as it prevents a technologist from getting the best images. Take off jewelry or piercings in the chest area, and avoid wearing a one piece dress since you only undress from the waist up.

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Behr says other people aren't scared about the exam, but about the results, especially if they get a call to come back in. If this happens, Behr says don't jump to conclusions since doctors might just want another view with an MRI or ultrasound.

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AMANDA BEHR: It could be benign. A lot of times, it could be a cyst, or a lymph node, benign calcifications. Usually when they get called back it's just for a second look to double check something, make sure that it isn't anything to be concerned about.

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TRACY BRIGGS: As a rule, women ages 40 to 75 should get mammograms every year. Just don't let nerves and uncertainty get in your way of your health.

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AMANDA BEHR: The early detection is going to be the main thing. Much better treatment options for something caught at an earlier stage as opposed to something that's invasive or at advance stage.

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TRACY BRIGGS: With this Essentia Health Medical Insight, I'm Tracy Briggs.

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The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Medical Insight.

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