Who Should Get a Mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that’s used to find breast cancer. It can uncover signs of the disease up to three years before a lump can be felt. Regular mammogram screenings are the best way for providers to find breast cancer in its earliest stages. This is when treatment can be most successful.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women who are 50 to 74 years old and are at average risk for breast cancer get a mammogram every two years. Women who are 40 to 49 years old should talk to their doctor or other health care professional about when to start and how often to get a mammogram. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides helpful information about mammograms.

What to Expect

A technician will place each breast on a plastic plate, one at a time. A second plate will lower and flatten your breast tissue while the X-ray is taken. This makes it easier to find any signs of cancer. Then another X-ray of your breast will be taken from the side. While you may feel a little discomfort, mammograms only take a few moments.

  • Don’t apply any deodorant, powder or lotion, which could show up as white spots on the X-rays and cause incorrect readings.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit. You’ll need to undress from the waist up.
  • Try not to schedule your mammogram close to your period. Your breasts may be tender or swollen during that time.

Denver Health Medical Plan will cover the full cost of your mammogram with $0 copay.

All members may get a mammogram through Denver Health. Some plans provide additional location options. To help you easily access your screenings, the Denver Health Women’s Mobile Clinic travels to each of the ten Family Health Centers. Check the latest Women's Mobile Clinic schedule for updates.