Mammograms & Breast Exams

It is estimated that nearly one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Fortunately, the American Cancer Society reports that breast cancer deaths are declining, most likely due to early detection and improved treatment. Routine care for women of all ages is vital to keeping you and your breasts healthy and should include annual mammograms with clinical breast exams, in addition to regular self-examinations.

What is Mammography?

Mammography is an x-ray examination of the breast. It is used to detect and diagnose breast disease in women who have breast symptoms such as a lump, pain, or for women who have no breast complaints. The procedure allows detection of breast cancers, benign tumors, and cysts before they can be detected by palpation (touch).

University of Utah Health Care Comprehensive Breast Care Center

The Comprehensive Breast Care Center provides services for people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and other breast conditions or those concerned about their risk of developing the disease based on strong family history. Our services include diagnostic imaging, breast MRI, breast ultrasound, ultrasound guided breast biopsies, and stereotactic breast biopsies.

We offer imaging services at several locations.


What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray image of your breast. It is used to find and diagnose breast disease. A mammogram may be done if you have breast problems such as a lump, pain, or nipple discharge. A mammogram is also done as a screening test if you don’t have breast problems. It can check for breast cancers, noncancerous or benign tumors, and cysts before they can be felt.

A mammogram can’t prove that an abnormal area is cancer. But if a mammogram shows an area in your breast that may be cancer, a sample of breast tissue will be removed. This is called a biopsy. Your provider may remove the tissue by needle or during surgery. The tissue will be checked under a microscope to see if it is cancer.

A mammogram uses a low dose of radiation.

What are the different types of mammograms?

There are 2 types of mammograms: 

  • Screening mammogram. This is used to find any breast changes in women who have no signs of breast cancer. Often 2 X-rays are taken of each breast. A mammogram can find a tumor before it can be felt.  

  • Diagnostic mammogram. This is used to diagnose abnormal breast changes. These may include a lump, pain, nipple thickening or discharge, or a change in breast size or shape. More pictures are taken than during a screening mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram is also used to check any problems found on a screening mammogram.

How is a mammogram done?

X-rays of the breast are different from X-rays for other parts of your body. The breast is squeezed, or compressed, by the mammogram equipment. This spreads the breast tissue apart. Because of this, the radiation dose is lower. You may feel some discomfort or pain when your breast is compressed. But this pressure is needed to keep the radiation level as low. It also helps take the best picture of your breast tissue. The compression only lasts for a few seconds for each image of your breast. A breast health nurse or X-ray technologist often takes the X-rays. The films are read by a radiologist. He or she gives the results to your healthcare provider.

Mammograms may also be done with the help of a computer to make digital images. Digital mammograms are done the same way as a standard mammogram.

What conditions does a mammogram show?

A mammogram can show the following conditions:

Calcifications are tiny mineral deposit in the breast tissue. There are 2 types of calcifications:

  • Macrocalcifications. These are larger calcium deposits that often mean worsening changes in the breast. These changes may include aging of the breast arteries, past injuries, or swelling or inflammation.

  • Microcalcifications. These are tiny (less than 1/50 of an inch) specks of calcium. When many microcalcifications are seen in 1 area, they are called a cluster.

Masses may happen with or without calcifications. Masses may be caused by:

  • A cyst. This is a noncancerous, or benign, collection of fluid in the breast. It can’t be diagnosed by a physical exam alone or by a mammogram alone. A breast ultrasound or aspiration with a needle is needed. If a mass is not a cyst, you may need more tests.

  • Benign breast conditions. Some masses can be checked with regular mammograms. But for others you may need a biopsy.

  • Breast cancer

Who should get a screening mammogram?

Different health experts have different recommendations for women who have no symptoms of breast cancer:

  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening every 2 years for women ages 50 to 74.

  • The American Cancer Society recommends screening be an option for women who are at average risk, starting at age 40. Mammograms should be done every year for all women ages 45 to 54. Then you can switch to mammograms every 2 years. Or you have the choice to continue annual mammograms.

Talk with your healthcare provider to find out which screening guidelines are right for you.

If you are at higher risk for breast cancer, talk with your provider about:

  • Starting screening mammograms earlier

  • Having additional tests such as a breast ultrasound or MRI

  • Having mammograms more often.



Matthew B. Morgan, M.D., M.S.

Matthew Morgan, MD, MS, is a board-certified radiologist specializing in breast imaging. His focus is the early detection of breast cancer through mammography, ultrasound, and MRI in both average and high-risk women. Dr. Morgan has extensive experience in advanced imaging technques including 3D mammography (tomosynthesis) and MRI. His research i... Read More

Maryam Rezvani, M.D.

Dr. Rezvani is a board certified radiologist by the American Board of Radiology. She is fellowship trained in Body Imaging and Cardiac Imaging.... Read More

Matthew A. Stein, M.D.

Matthew A. Stein, MD is the section chief of Breast Imaging at the department of Radiology at the University of Utah. Dr. Stein has special interest in the use of breast MRI for screening women at high risk of breast cancer, as well as using MRI and MRI directed biopsy to accurately assess extent of disease in those with proven breast cancer, and ... Read More

Nicole Winkler, M.D.

Nicole Winkler, MD, is a radiologist specializing in breast and abdominopelvic imaging. Her main focus is breast imaging including the detection of breast cancer through mammography, ultrasound and MRI and diagnosis through image directed biopsy. Dr. Winkler has a specific interest in providing compassionate, accurate and efficient patient care thr... Read More

Huntsman Cancer Hospital Breast Care Center

8:00 am–4:00 pm, Mon–Fri

1950 Circle of Hope
Salt Lake City, UT 84132
Scheduling: (801)581-5496

Greenwood Health Center

8:40 am–4:00 pm, Mon–Fri

7495 South State Street
Midvale, UT 84047
Scheduling: (801)581-5496

Parkway Health Center

8:30 am–4:30 pm, Mon–Fri

145 W. University Parkway
Orem, UT 84058
Scheduling: (801)581-5496

Redstone Health Center

9:00 am–4:40 pm, Mon–Thur

1743 W. Redstone Center Dr.
Park City, UT 84098
Scheduling: (801)581-5496

South Jordan Health Center

8:00 am–4:30 pm, M & W

5126 W. Daybreak Parkway
South Jordan, UT 84095

Scheduling: (801)581-5496
Fax: (801)585-9220