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Mammograms

Early Detection

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray image created of your breast or breasts. Physicians use the mammogram to regularly screen healthy women for breast cancer. It plays a key role in the early detection. Often, the mammogram can pick up findings years before they would be identified by breast self-examination or clinical breast examination.

In addition to standard screening and diagnostic mammograms, Women & Infants was the first facility in the state to offer the latest breast mammography technology called digital breast tomosynthesis. Tomosynthesis, which is now available in two Women & Infants locations, gives radiologists a three-dimensional look at breast tissue, versus the traditional two-dimensional images, which means they have a clearer and more comprehensive view. The result is a 15 percent increase in early detection of breast cancer and a reduction in false positives, which require further testing and cause you unnecessary anxiety.

Although mammography cannot identify abnormality as breast cancer, any concerning findings can be further investigated by minimally invasive biopsy to determine if they are benign or malignant. Finding breast cancer early, when the cancer is small, improves the patient's response to treatment and often requires less surgery, radiation or drug treatment.

To schedule a routine mammography or to learn more, contact us:
(401) 274-1122, ext. 41248

Breast Health Center
668 Eddy Street
Providence, RI 02903
P: (401) 274-1122, ext. 47300

Bayside Medical Building
235 Plain Street
Level 0
Providence, RI 02903

Hours
Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Mammography Service Locations:

Women & Infants Hospital

Address
101 Dudley Street | Level 0
Providence, RI 02905

Hours
Monday - Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Women & Infants Medical Office Building

Address
1050 Main Street
East Greenwich, RI 02818

Hours
Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(Mondays and Thursdays until 8 p.m.)
Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 noon

Care New England Medical Group Primary Care and Specialty Services

Address
111 Brewster Street
Pawtucket, RI
P: (401) 729-2334

Hours
Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon
Call (401) 729-2334 to schedule an appointment.

Kent Hospital

Address
455 Toll Gate Road
Warwick, RI
P: (401) 736-1988

Hours
Monday – Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday – Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Call (401) 736-1988 to schedule an appointment.

The Latest Technology

Women & Infants is a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, as designated by the American College of Radiography. We offer the latest technology for imaging the breasts, including:

  • Screening mammogram
  • Diagnostic mammogram
  • Needle localization
  • Stereotactic breast biopsy
  • Outside consultations

In addition to standard mammograms, Women & Infants was the first facility in the state to offer the latest breast mammography technology, called digital breast tomosynthesis.

Tomosynthesis, which is now available in two Women & Infants locations, gives radiologists a three-dimensional look at breast tissue, versus the traditional two-dimensional images, which means they have a clearer and more comprehensive view. The result is a 15 percent increase in early detection of breast cancer and a reduction in false positives, which require further testing and cause you unnecessary anxiety.

Recommendations for Early Detection of Breast Cancer

Safe Test

The new low-dose mammography technology makes mammography screening safe and accurate.

These guidelines are for women at average risk for breast cancer. Women at high-risk because of family history, a breast condition, or another reason may need to begin screening earlier and/or screen more often. Talk with your medical provider to be sure.

Early Detection Recommendations 
  • At Women & Infants, our providers recommend annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40, as recommended by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Biannual screening could be considered at the age of 55 as endorsed by the American Cancer Society. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health. Once a woman enters her 70's or 80's, she should speak with her primary care provider about screening recommendations.
  • Note that breast self-exam or a clinical breast exam is not proven to be an effective breast cancer screening tool and cannot replace mammography for screening.

New Mammography Guidelines FAQ

What do you suggest for women?

It is true that mammogram screenings will see the maximal effect in terms of "lives saved" in the 50 to 70 age group, in part because the incidence of breast cancer increases with age and also because younger women have denser breasts which limits the sensitivity of mammography. The maximal effect is actually for women ages 60 to 69. However, there still remains a role for screening mammogram in the 40 to 50 age group, although more women will need to be screened to achieve one life saved when compared to the 50 to 70 age group.

Ideally, a physician would discuss screening with his patients aged 40 to 50 and they together would decide whether to order a mammogram. While my bias rests with screening in this age group, if the woman has no personal or family history issues that would raise the concern for breast cancer, deferring screening would be reasonable. If there are personal or family history issues, I would continue to favor screening for women ages 40 to 50.

Is there more risk than benefit to annual mammograms after age 40?
The true risk of screening in women ages 40 to 50 is likely related to the risk of "false positive" results which can lead to further imaging including MRI, biopsy and more frequent follow up. This can certainly add to a woman's anxiety and frustration, as well as increase health care costs, but different women will make different decisions regarding how they feel about this issue. Again, when there are personal risk factors or family history, I would continue to favor screening in this age group.
Do you believe there is still value in breast self-exams, which some call ineffective?
There has never been a study which documented a decrease in mortality from breast self-exam, and I have never felt that there is overall benefit from breast self-exam. So nothing has changed in this regard. If a breast self-exam does not cause a woman anxiety, I think she should conduct them, even if their effectiveness has not been proven. If a woman had difficulty performing a breast self-exam or it causes significant anxiety, a yearly clinical breast exam is very appropriate.