Mammography (ma-MAH-gruh-fee) is a screening tool that uses X-rays to create images of the breast. These images, called mammograms (MAM-o-grams), are used to find early signs of breast cancer such as a dense mass or clusters of calcium (microcalcifications).mammogram

Mammography is the best screening tool for breast cancer used today. It can find cancers at an early stage, when they are small (too small to be felt) and the chances of survival are highest.

When should you get a mammogram?

Women at average risk should get a mammogram once a year starting at age 40.

Women at higher risk may need to get screened earlier and more frequently than recommended here. If you are at higher risk of breast cancer, talk with your health care provider about which screening options are right for you.

The following items will put you at higher risk for breast cancer:

  • A mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene (or a first-degree relative with a mutation)
  • Strong family history of breast cancer, such as mother and/or sister diagnosed at age 45 or younger
  • Personal history of breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or atypical hyperplasia
  • Radiation treatment to the chest area during childhood or young adulthood
  • A mutation in the p53 or PTEN genes (or a first-degree relative with a mutation) (These gene mutations can lead to Li-Fraumeni syndrome

Where to get a mammogram:

If you have insurance consult with your primary care physician and request a referral to get your mammogram if they have not already discussed it with you.

Free Mammograms:


Dial 2-1-1 to talk with a Breast Health Specialist. For English, press 2-2-3-1. For Spanish, press 1-1-3-1. Or go to


Sometimes, the reason a woman doesn’t get a mammogram is that she doesn’t have time, or can’t get to a clinic because of transportation issues. Komen provides funding for mobile mammography program to reach women in our target communities—where they work live, pray or komen mammogram saved my lifeplay. Look on our website for a variety of free mammograms scheduled throughout each month or contact San Diego Medical Society Foundation at the following: 858-300-2777 |


Breast services for women under 40 are rarely covered by insurance. The groundbreaking program at the Community Clinics Health Network addresses this gap. This program provides diagnostic services (i.e. mammography, surgical consultation, breast biopsies, ultrasounds and ancillary services) to low-income, uninsured or underinsured individuals Women and men) under the age of 40 living in San Diego County. 619-542-4342 |

If you are OVER 40 years old…


Call EVERY WOMAN COUNTS at 1-800-511-2300 for program qualification.