Canadian Diagnostic Network

Ottawa, Ontario

What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is a non-invasive high resolution low-energy digital x-ray picture that plays an essential role in the early detection and screening of breast cancer. Also called mastography, the goal of a mammography is to detect the characteristics of masses or microcalcifications.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Screening mammography.  Regular screening mammography can help detect cancer before clinical signs are noticeable.

Diagnostic mammography.  Additional investigation using diagnostic mammography is used to assess suspicious breast changes, such as a new breast lump, breast pain, an unusual skin appearance, nipple thickening or nipple discharge. It may also follow a screening mammogram if it had suspicious findings.

What to expect at your Mammogram appointment.

If you’re experiencing breast tenderness due to menstruation you may wish to reschedule. It is also very important to tell your physician and technologist if you have breast implants.

To ensure the best quality images, you may be asked to remove any jewelry or metal objects on your skin. You will also be asked to remove clothing above the waist and wear a paper gown.


The images are taken in an upright position with one breast at a time being placed between two x-ray plates. The plates are gradually positioned to compress breast tissue which ensures the best quality image. Once in place, two images are taken of each breast. One image is taken from top to bottom and the other is from side to side.


Once the test is complete your breasts may be tender temporarily however you will be able to return to your normal activities.


The images will be interpreted by a radiologist who will share the results with your referring doctor. It is suggested to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to ensure that a clear explanation of the results is provided.

Schedule Your Appointment

Please complete the Quick Form below. After you submit this information, CDN support will contact you by email to confirm your appointment. If you have a medical emergency, dial 911

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