Diagnostic Breast Imaging FAQ

What is the difference between Diagnostic Mammography and Screening Mammography?

Both Diagnostic Mammography and Screening Mammography are specialized x-ray procedures of the breast.

Diagnostic Mammograms are for women who have a specific breast problem, previous breast cancer, or have breast implants. This procedure requires a referral from your doctor and is done at our Kingsway location in Burnaby and our No 3 Road location in Richmond.

Screening Mammograms are for women with no known breast problems, who do not have breast implants, and who have not had breast cancer. You do not need a referral for this exam but you do need to give us the name of your family doctor when you make your appointment as he/she will receive a copy of your report. These examinations are performed at Screening Mammography Programs throughout British Columbia. The Burnaby SMPBC office is located at 115 – 4980 Kingsway.

Why do I need another Mammogram when I’ve just had one?

Usually this is required because further detail is required after having a screening mammogram. You can discuss the specific reasons with your doctor.

Why do I need a Mammogram and an Ultrasound?

Mammograms and ultrasound often complement each other and what isn't certain on mammography can be better determined on ultrasound or vice versa. Please discuss this with your doctor.

I have a strong family history of breast cancer. When should I have my first mammogram?

This should be discussed with your family doctor. In B.C. it is recommended that you have your first screening mammogram at the age of 40. In women with a high risk of developing breast cancer the first mammogram can be done at an earlier age even if you have no symptoms. If you are under the age of 40 the mammogram must be done in a diagnostic center - not at SMPBC.