When should I get a mammogram?

The goal of screening for breast cancer is to find it BEFORE symptoms begin (such as a lump). The earlier cancer is detected, the more likely a tumor will be smaller and more confined to the breast. This means treatment is likely to be more successful and survival rates will be higher.

The American College of Radiology current recommends that women with average risk of breast cancer get annual screening mammograms, starting at age 40.

If you have risk factors, such as a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about the appropriate time to begin screening mammograms.

If you have symptoms of breast cancer, don’t delay making an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can write a physicians’ order for a diagnostic mammogram.

Symptoms include:

  • Breast lump
  • Skin dimpling or skin looking like an orange peel
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Nipple/areola skin that is red, dry, flaking or thickened
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk (bloody or clear like water)
  • Swollen lymph nodes (under the arm or around the collar bone – these can sometimes be felt even before the original tumor in the breast)
  • Swelling of the breast (even if no pain)
  • Breast or nipple pain which persists in one pinpoint spot and never goes away, especially if associated with a breast lump

Tomosynthesis (also known as 3D Mammography) is the newest breast cancer screening technology, shown to have 30% increased breast cancer detection over conventional 2D mammography.

3D Mammography is now available at the following UofL Health facilities:

  • Brown Cancer Center – 502-562-4361, option 1
  • Medical Center East – 502-681-1405
  • Medical Center South – 502-681-1405
  • Shelbyville Hospital – 502-681-1405
  • Mary & Elizabeth Hospital – 502-681-1405 (2D currently available; 3D coming soon)



About Brian Mattingly, M.D.

Brian Mattingly, M.D., is director of breast imaging at UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center and Medical Center East. He specializes in mammography, breast ultrasound, and breast MRI, as well as imaging guided biopsies and procedures using these modalities. He received a bachelor’s degree from Centre College, a master of science in biomedical engineering from the University of Kentucky and a medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He completed his internship in internal medicine at Saint Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind., and both his radiology residency and breast imaging fellowship at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Ind. He is board-certified by the American Board of Radiology and is a member of the Society of Breast Imaging; American College of Radiology; Radiological Society of North America; and the American Roentgen Ray Society.

All posts by Brian Mattingly, M.D.