Frequent Questions

WA mammogram has the capability of finding a tiny tumor years before it can be felt. Since we don’t know what causes breast cancer, we really have no way to prevent it. Our best hope is through early detection and treatment.
The American Cancer Society recommends a first (baseline) mammogram between the ages of 35 and 40. Women who are between 40 and over should have a mammogram every year.
Digital mammography uses computers and specially designed digital detectors to produce an image that can be displayed on a high-resolution computer monitor, transmitted and stored just like computer files. Both film-based and digital mammography use compression and x-rays to create clear images of the inside of the breast. Unlike film-based mammography, digital mammograms produce images that appear on the monitor in a matter of seconds. The images are interpreted by a radiologist and the results are sent to your physician. Your physician will then discuss your results with you. And remember, an annual mammogram is one of your best defenses against breast cancer.
A mammogram should not hurt! The breasts are compressed during the exam. It feels tight, sometimes a little uncomfortable, but should never be painful. Timing and preparation are important. The exam should not be scheduled before a menstrual period or at the end of an estrogen cycle. Caffeine should be eliminated 7 to 10 days before the exam. These measures help to decrease any discomfort.
There are two categories of mammograms:
  • Screening -These are done when women have no symptoms.
  • Diagnostic- This means the woman presents with a problem such as a lump, pain, nipple discharge, nipple retraction or other symptom.
Most insurance companies pay for both types of mammograms, but the only way to know for sure is to contact your insurance company. Medicare will pay for a mammogram every year. Most companies have toll free numbers. If you have no insurance, don't let the cost of a mammogram dissuade you from having one. There are programs available to assist with the cost. No one has ever been denied a mammogram at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital because she couldn’t afford it.
You need to get your mammogram at the best qualified facility. The important factors are:
  • Dedicated mammography equipment that is at least annually checked by a physicist. 
  • A qualified technologist who has been specially trained in mammography. A board certified radiologist who has had specific training in the interpretation of mammograms. 
  • Accreditation from the FDA. American College of Radiology.
The Breast Clinic at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital fulfills all these requirements.