A “screening” mammogram. Screening mammograms are for women with no signs or symptoms of breast cancer, whether or not they have dense breasts, family history of breast cancer, or other risk factors. In the U.S.A., screening mammograms are fully covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act for women over the age of 40. They may also be covered for younger women if recommended by their physician and depending on their health insurance policy.
“Diagnostic” mammograms are used when there are signs and symptoms of breast cancer such as a lump, bloody or clear nipple discharge (not milk from breast feeding) or pulling in of the skin or nipple (called retraction). Diagnostic mammograms are also used to look at areas seen on earlier mammograms (like a screening mammogram) that need more pictures or closer follow-up. “Diagnostic” mammograms start with the same images as screening but are reviewed by the radiologist at the time of the mammogram and while the patient is there. A diagnostic mammogram is usually covered by insurance but out-of-pocket costs like a deductible and copay may be required.
- 5 Facts Every Woman Should Know
- Video Series: Let’s Talk About Dense Breasts
- Patient Risk Checklist (print)
- Patient Questions and Answers