Mammography exam

The goal of breast cancer screening is to find cancer at the earliest possible stage, before it causes symptoms or pain and when it is easier to treat. UChicago Medicine offers mammography at several locations, including our main location in Chicago and at several locations in Chicago's Southland.

At UChicago Medicine, our board-certified radiologists provide the full range of image interpretation and image-guided procedures to uncover signs of disease, including:

  • 2D digital mammography, breast ultrasound and breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

  • 3D mammography, which takes multiple images of the breast (tomosynthesis)

In an effort to make breast cancer testing more comfortable, accurate and convenient, our breast imaging centers are using new screening technologies, such as breast-shaped mammogram paddles and high-speed MRIs

Much of our radiologists' work is integrated with colleagues in our Breast Center — medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and pathologists. This collaboration includes performing procedures to better identify the precise location of a tumor for patients who need surgery; using MRI to monitor patients undergoing chemotherapy before surgery (called neoadjuvant chemotherapy); and performing screening for patients who have a strong family history of breast cancer or a genetic predisposition to cancer.

Recognized for the Highest Standards in Breast Imaging

Breast Imaging Center of Excellence - American College of RadiologyUChicago Medicine's main campus location in Hyde Park, UChicago Medicine at Ingalls - Harvey and UChicago Medicine at Ingalls - Tinley Park are designated as Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. A center of excellence designation is awarded to breast imaging centers that have demonstrated excellence and achieved full accreditation in mammography, breast ultrasound, breast ultrasound-guided biopsy and stereotactic breast biopsy.

More Options for Women with Dense Breast Tissue

Approximately 40 percent of women have dense breast tissue which can obscure small tumors, making them difficult to detect with routine mammography. Whole breast ultrasound can be used along with mammography to examine dense breast tissue. In accordance with Illinois law, our highly experienced radiologists report breast density to both patients and referring providers. This information is useful in determining whether or not additional breast screening should be considered.

Hereditary Breast Cancer Risk & Prevention

Between 5 and 10 percent of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary and are caused by mutations in a person's gene. UChicago Medicine offers a comprehensive breast cancer risk and prevention program for patients who may have inherited a gene mutation associated with breast cancer (e.g. BRCA1 and BRCA2). Our oncologists work in tandem with board-certified genetic counselors to help patients understand the risks and benefits associated with genetic testing, guide them through appropriate screening and prevention options and provide more information for their family and their care.

Guidelines for Breast Cancer Screening

The American Cancer Society recommends the following breast cancer screening guidelines for most women:

  • Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (X-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every two years, or can continue yearly screening.
  • Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
  • All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations and potential harms linked to breast cancer screening.

Discuss with your health care provider:

  • Any changes to the normal shape and feel of your breast
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Your risk of breast cancer and the best screening plan for you

Understanding Your Breast Cancer

Understanding the biological makeup of breast cancer is an important first step to treating this disease. UChicago Medicine's breast cancer program includes board-certified pathologists who focus their practice on benign and malignant breast diseases. Dedicated pathology assistants ensure specimens are effectively prepared for fast and accurate pathology results. These results play a key role in informing treatment planning.

Beyond the initial pathology results, our pathologists provide crucial insight and expertise in the multidisciplinary treatment of breast cancer patients.

mammogram machine with patient and tech

A Comfortable Mammogram?

Impressive new breast screening technologies, like breast-shaped mammogram paddles and high-speed MRIs, are helping make breast cancer testing more comfortable, accurate and convenient.

Learn about our patient-focused breast imaging services.

Convenient Locations for Breast Cancer Screening Mammography

Breast Cancer Screening - Annual vs Personalized

A longstanding debate has stymied the medical community about when and how often women should be screened for breast cancer. The WISDOM study will assess whether personalized screening is as safe, effective and accepted compared to annual screening.

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Stacy Lindau, MD, talking with a patient

Program in Integrative Sexual Medicine (PRISM) for Women & Girls with Cancer