Screening and Diagnostic Mammograms in Phoenix

John C. Lincoln Breast Health and Research Center
19646 N. 27th Ave., Suite 205
Phoenix, Arizona
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Call 623-780-HOPE (4673) to schedule a mammogram in Phoenix today

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Video: Learn how John C. Lincoln's Breast Health and Research Center provides compassionate, coordinated and technologically advanced care.

At the John C. Lincoln Breast Health and Research Center, you'll find breast health care that is comprehensive, comfortable and cutting edge. Digital mammography holds the key to detecting cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.

In the media and among family and friends, we often hear about screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms. What do these two terms mean? How is one mammogram different from other? Is one better than the other? Here, our center's medical staff sets the record straight.

What is the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram?

  • A screening mammogram is performed routinely, and consists of four pictures of the breast: two frontal views and two side views. Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every 12 months. Women younger than 40, who are at a higher risk of breast cancer, should consult their physicians about their need for screening mammograms — and how frequently they should have them.
  • A diagnostic mammogram is ordered if the patient has a new problem with her breasts, such as pain or a lump. The same four views are taken initially — with any additional imaging needed to evaluate the problem being done while the patient is at the center — and the results will be given to the patient before she leaves.

Whether you're given a screening mammogram or a diagnostic mammogram, you'll still receive the same exam. We use these two terms in patient care as way of differentiating between a regular checkup and a diagnostic exam, for insurance purposes.

How do these differences become evident in patient care?

Suppose that you have a screening mammogram, according to your annual schedule, and everything goes well — your screening mammogram is negative.

If, two months later, you were to find a lump in your breast, your physician would prescribe a diagnostic mammogram, so that additional images of your breast can be taken.

There seems to be a perception in the public that a diagnostic mammogram is a better, or more thorough, exam. However, that's absolutely not the case. A diagnostic mammogram involves doing all imaging necessary to evaluate a problem while the patient is here at our center.

What would happen if a lump were found during a screening mammogram?

At the Breast Health and Research Center, if we were to find lump in your breast during a screening mammogram, we would perform the diagnostic mammogram immediately. We're not going to send you home and ask you to return for a diagnostic mammogram.

Our center provides results for diagnostic mammograms at the time of service. The only reason for a delay in obtaining results would be when new images need to be compared with images from previous exams, and those images aren't readily available.