Mammograms can detect tumors that are too small for you or a health professional to feel or before symptoms develop.
Mammography is an x-ray procedure used to detect breast changes. While they can't prevent breast cancer, they can reduce the risk of dying from the disease.
For women with average risk of breast cancer
- Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so. The risks of screening as well as the potential benefits should be considered.
- Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
- Women age 55 or older should switch to mammograms every two years, or have the choice to continue yearly screening.
Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
You should discuss with your doctor the benefits, limitations, and potential risks associated with breast cancer screening. You should also be familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel, and report any changes to a healthcare provider right away.
Women can schedule a digital screening mammogram at any of Lancaster General Health’s convenient locations, with no doctor’s order required. Each location follows the same gold standard protocols, and all mammograms are sent electronically to the Suzanne H. Arnold Center for Breast Health to be interpreted by a board-certified radiologist dedicated to breast imaging. We typically contact women with results within 24 hours of their screening mammograms.
Advanced 3D mammogram services are available at select locations (identified below). Both 2D and 3D mammogram types use very low X-ray energy, well within FDA safety standards. Your doctor can provide further guidance.
The Suzanne H. Arnold Center for Breast Health
The Suzanne H. Arnold Center for Breast Health is a state-of-the-art facility at the Suburban Pavilion, adjacent to the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute. Accredited by the American College of Radiology, the Center was designed to provide women with the highest level of breast health screening and diagnostic services, in a supportive, spa-like environment.
Making a gift to the Suzanne H. Arnold Center for Breast Health helps to ensure the latest technologies are available for prevention screenings and early detection, and support patient care and education.
Screening Mammogram Locations
Preparing for Your Mammogram
Before Your Appointment
- Schedule your appointment during the two weeks following the end of your menstrual period
- Reduce caffeine intake three to five days in advance if your breasts are tender
Tell Your Health Provider If You
- Are or could be pregnant
- Are breastfeeding
- Have breast implants
- Have had a breast biopsy
Getting Your Results
If a mammogram indicates abnormal results, our team will streamline the next steps needed to get the patient timely and appropriate diagnostic testing, whether that means a follow-up mammogram, high-resolution ultrasound, breast MRI, or minimally invasive biopsy. The Center is equipped and staffed to perform all diagnostic procedures on site.
If the patient receives a diagnosis of breast cancer, we take the time to explain the test results and the various options they may be presented with for treatment. We also schedule the patient for an appointment with a surgeon or oncologist from the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, to ensure a smooth transition of care.
More Information About 3D/Tomosynthesis
3D/Tomosynthesis technology allows doctors to see masses and distortion associated with cancers and precancerous cells more clearly. Images of the breast are captured from multiple angles, in thin slices that can be examined individually, or combined to create a 3D image of your breast. This makes it easier to detect abnormalities such as cancer which show up as white areas; because the radiologist is looking at very thin sections one at a time, those white areas are less likely to be obscured by dense breast tissue which also appears white on the images.
When 3D technology was first introduced, there was concern that the few extra seconds of radiation would expose women to a higher dose of radiation. At Lancaster General Health, the radiation dose for 3D screening mammography is now the same low dose as 2D, but with the added benefits of better detection and fewer false positives. Most insurance plans cover 3D mammography.
Mammograms Available Free of Charge for Those Who Qualify
The HealthyWoman Program (HWP), a free breast and cervical cancer early detection program funded by the PA Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is offered by these Lancaster General Health Physician Family Medicine practices: Crooked Oak, Family & Maternity Medicine.
Lancaster General Health also provides free screening mammograms throughout the community, funded by grants from Help the Fight, and Tanger.
You may be eligible:
- If you are 40-64 years of age
- If you have no insurance and low to moderate income
- If your insurance does not cover screening mammograms
- If your insurance deductible is high and stopping you from getting a screening mammogram
To schedule your FREE screening mammogram, call 717-544-5941.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you are having any breast symptoms such as pain or lumps. These will require a diagnostic mammogram, not a screening mammogram. Our Healthy Woman program can provide assistance with those services.