Designed to detect cancers and other changes in breast tissue, a mammogram can be used for either screening or diagnostic purposes:
Screening mammogram. A screening mammogram is used to detect breast changes that could be cancerous in people who have no signs or symptoms. The goal is to detect cancer when it's small and treatment may be less invasive.
Consider using your birthday as a reminder to celebrate good health by scheduling a mammogram. Mayo Clinic physicians and the American Cancer Society recommend women have an annual breast screening, beginning at 40. Your provider will let you know if you should be screened more or less frequently based on your health history.
Diagnostic mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram is used to investigate suspicious breast changes, such as a new breast lump, breast pain, an unusual skin appearance, nipple thickening or nipple discharge. It's also used to evaluate unexpected findings on a screening mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram includes additional mammogram images.
Not all treatments, tests and services are available at all Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Check with your preferred location in advance.