Get a screening or diagnostic mammogram at South Jersey Radiology

A screening mammogram is a wellness screening that monitors your breast health and looks for signs of breast cancer. It is recommended annually for all women starting at age 40 and is covered by most health insurance providers as a preventative service, in full. Diagnostic mammograms are performed when symptoms of a breast condition have been identified during a physical examination or screening mammogram. 

Both screening and diagnostic mammograms use a special type of X-ray to capture 2D & 3D views of your breast tissue. A mammogram can help identify breast cancer and other breast abnormalities up to three years before a lump can be felt through a physician exam.   

Woman In Her 40s Sitting In Chair Smiling
South Jersey Radiology Associates Women's Center at Cross Keys Sign

Our Women's Imaging Locations

South Jersey Radiology provides women’s imaging services, including screening and diagnostic mammograms, across 7 of our office locations. SJRA offers same-day and next-day appointment options with many locations offering extended and weekend hours to meet your busy schedule.

What to Expect During Your Mammogram

When you arrive at our center, you will check in with one of our receptionists who will review your medical history. Then, you’ll go with one of our experienced, female technologists to the study room. You will be asked to stand at the mammography machine where each breast will be compressed between two, curved paddles. Each compression lasts a few seconds.  

Breast Imaging Technologist Explaining A 3D Mammogram To Her Patient

Mammography Frequently Asked Questions

Women’s health experts recommend that women with no breast symptoms or cancer risk factors start screening mammograms at the age of 40 and repeat them annually (every 12 months). For women with high risk factors such as family history, your physician may recommend starting annual screenings sooner – at the age of 35. 

Clinical research shows that early and routine screening mammograms starting at the age of 40 have reduced breast cancer mortality by 40% when compared to late and infrequent screenings. Most insurance plans cover annual screening mammograms, in full.

Your mammogram (screening or diagnostic) will be performed by a female technologist, specifically trained in breast imaging. Before the study begins, we will review your medical history and explain the study. You will be escorted to a private room where you will be asked to stand at the mammography machine. For a few seconds at a time, each breast will be compressed between two, curved paddles. Each compression helps capture clear images to interpret.

To prepare for a mammogram, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • To minimize any discomfort, schedule your mammogram during the two weeks following your menstrual cycle, when your breasts are least tender.
  • Please arrive fifteen minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting or one-piece articles of clothing. Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that are easy to remove from the waist up are preferred. 
  • Don’t wear any deodorant, perfume, or lotion on your upper body on the day of your appointment. These hygienic products can show up on your results and skew the quality of the images being captured.
  • If you’ve had prior mammograms, breast ultrasounds, or breast MRIs at an imaging center other than South Jersey Radiology, you will be asked to provide contact information for the center so we can obtain records before your appointment. Prior records help our board-certified, subspecialized radiologists identify any changes that have occurred over time. If you would like our team to request these records on your behalf, please reach out to one of our representatives.

During your mammogram, you are exposed to a very minimal amount of radiation. All of our centers at South Jersey Radiology are compliant with Image Wisely’s guidelines.

Approximately 50% of all women have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue is a description that categorizes how your breast tissue appears on a mammogram. The visuals captured by your mammogram show non-dense tissue as dark and transparent areas, and dense tissue as solid white areas. These solid white areas can obscure your results and make normal structures appear suspicious. 

Although a mammogram is one of the best early cancer detection methods, our radiologists may recommend you have additional imaging (ultrasound or MRI)  if your breast tissue is dense to increase the likelihood of finding abnormalities. 

Having your screening mammogram results come back as suspicious can certainly raise your anxiety levels, but it is important to remember that suspicious results don’t necessarily mean breast cancer.

A suspicious or unclear result means that there is an area of your breast that looks different from the norm or in comparison to previous mammograms. These results will require further studies to determine what is going on (diagnostic mammogram, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, or breast biopsy).

Our radiologist will speak with your physician to determine what study is needed to further investigate and confirm the results, then communicate that recommendation to you. 

Once your mammogram is complete, one of our board-certified, subspecialized radiologists will analyze the results and develop a detailed report for your physician. Your physician will receive the report within 48 hours and follow up with you to go over the results. Usually, the results are sent to your OB/GYN or primary care physician. You may be asked to specify who and which before your appointment.

After 5 – 7 days, your reports and images will be available to you via our easy-to-access patient portal.

Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance providers are required to cover the full cost of an annual screening 2D mammogram. In the case of annual screening 3D mammograms, the full cost may not be covered by certain health insurance providers. This largely depends on which state you live in and what health insurance plan you have.

As of August 1st, 2018, New Jersey state law requires health insurance companies to provide coverage for 3D mammograms in women 40 and over with no deductible, coinsurance, or other cost-sharing methods. However, certain out-of-state, federal, and employer insurance plans set up as “self-funded” may not have to comply with state insurance regulations.