A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that’s used to detect breast cancer — it can uncover signs of the disease up to three years before a lump can even be felt. Regular mammogram screenings are the most effective way for providers to find breast cancer in its earliest stages when treatment can be most successful.
Who Should Get a Mammogram?
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. However, make sure to weigh the benefits and risks of screening tests if you decide to begin getting mammograms before age 50. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides helpful information about mammograms.
What to Expect
A technician will place each breast, one at a time, on a plastic plate. A second plate will lower, flattening your breast tissue while the X-ray is taken, so it’s easier to find any signs of cancer. Then, in a similar fashion, 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.
Preparing for Your Appointment
- Don’t apply any deodorant, powder or lotion, which could show up as white spots on the X-rays and cause inaccurate readings.
- Wear a two-piece outfit. (During your mammogram, you’ll need to undress from the waist up.)
- Try not to schedule your mammogram close to your period, as your breasts may be tender or swollen during that time.
No Cost to You
Denver Health Medical Plan will cover the full cost of your mammogram with $0 copay.
Where to Go
While location options vary by plan, all members may get a mammogram through Denver Health. To help you more easily access your screenings, our Women’s Mobile Clinic travels to each of our ten Family Health Centers. Check the latest schedule for updates.