Mammography is an X-ray exam of your breast tissue. The image it makes is called a mammogram. A mammogram can help find problems with your breasts, such as cysts or cancer. Mammography is the best breast cancer screening tool available.

The American Cancer Society offers the following breast health guidelines to women who are symptom-free:

  • Women 20 and older should perform breast self-examinations every month.

  • Women 20-39 should have a physical breast examination every three years, and women 40 and older should have one every year.

  • Women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year, or more often for women at increased risk.

  • Women with personal or family histories of breast cancer should consult their doctors about the need for more frequent or earlier mammography.

Newer 3D mammography takes imaging a step further. 3D mammography provides a clear, three-dimensional image of the breast by compiling scans from many angles. This makes it easier to detect small tumors, even those in their earliest stage, when they can be treated with greater success.

Vidant Health has invested in advanced 3D mammography in seven locations in eastern North Carolina. We’re placing the technology closer to where you live to make it easier for you to get screened every year, just as doctors recommend. Key advantages of 3D mammography:

  • Greater detail and improved accuracy
  • 40 percent increase in cancer detection
  • Detects more invasive, life-threatening tumors
  • Fewer call-backs, resulting in less anxiety
  • Better at detecting cancer in dense breast tissue
  • Digital images that allow doctors in other locations to consult if needed
  • Accommodates even very large breasts
  • Patient-friendly design that’s more comfortable
  • Cost covered by most health insurance plans

Seven convenient locations

Call one near you to schedule an appointment

Vidant Bertie Hospital
1403 S. King Street, Windsor | 252-794-6626

Vidant Chowan Hospital
211 Virginia Road, Edenton | 252-482-6245

Vidant Duplin Hospital
401 N. Main Street, Kenansville | 910-296-8875

Vidant Edgecombe Hospital
111 Hospital Drive, Tarboro | 252-641-7376

The Outer Banks Hospital
4800 S. Croatan Highway, Nags Head | 252-449-5918

Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital
500 S. Academy Street, Ahoskie | 252-209-3033

Vidant Women's Care-Washington
1204 Brown Street, Washington | 252-946-6544

How do I get ready for a mammogram? 

  • Schedule the test for 1 week after your period. Your breasts are less sore then.

  • Make sure your clinic gets images of your last mammogram if it was done somewhere else. This lets the provider compare the 2 sets of images for any changes.

  • On the morning of your test, don’t use deodorant, powder, or perfume.

  • Wear a top that you can take off easily.

What happens during a mammogram? 

  • You will need to undress from the waist up.

  • The technologist will position your breast to get the best test results.

  • Each of your breasts will be compressed one at a time. This helps get the most complete X-ray image.

  • Your breasts will be repositioned to get at least 2 separate views of each breast.

What happens after a mammogram?

  • More X-rays are sometimes needed. You’ll be called to schedule them.

  • You should receive your test results in writing. Ask about this on the day of your appointment.

  • Have mammograms as often as your healthcare provider recommends.

Let the technologist know if:

  • You’re pregnant or think you may be pregnant

  • You have breast implants

  • You have any scars or moles on or near your breasts

  • You’ve had a breast biopsy or surgery

  • You’re breastfeeding