Breast cancer is a fierce enemy. It remains the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer in women, with more than 200,000 new cases each year. Early detection and treatment are essential to fighting the disease, and mammograms—which often detect breast cancer before any physical symptoms—are an invaluable tool for diagnosis.

What is a Mammogram?

At its most basic, a mammogram is simply a low-dose x-ray of the breast. The test helps detect very small tumors, often those that are too small for health care professionals to find on their own. Some mammograms may appear to detect cancer, which is in fact not present. This is called a false-positive result. In fact, about 80 percent of breast abnormalities are benign, including calcifications, cysts and other masses. In some cases, mammogram results require more testing, including examination of specific tissue or complementary exams, such as ultrasound.

Why Should You Have a Mammogram?

Your health care team may recommend a mammogram for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Age: For women ages 40 to 70, mammograms may help reduce deaths from breast cancer.
  • Risk factors for breast cancer, including family history of the disease, particularly in family members younger than age 40
  • Symptoms of breast cancer, such as suspicious tissue, a lump or thickening in the breast, nipple discharge, or dimpling of the skin on one area of the breast
  • Family history of ovarian cancer

Your Mammogram

Mammograms are administered by a committed staff of female mammographers who are registered with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and certified by the Iowa Department of Public Health to ensure maximum comfort for patients. Board-certified radiologists interpret mammogram results, which are automatically forwarded to your physician.

Mammograms are administered in a relaxed, friendly environment provided by our beautifully decorated mammography suite.

We have earned continued certification by the Iowa Department of Public Health, and by the federal Food and Drug Administration as an Accredited Mammography Facility.

In addition, our staff can help provide instruction and education on breast self-examination.

Scheduling your Mammogram

Mammograms at Mary Greeley Medical Center are available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. No physician's referral is needed to schedule a mammogram with us, but your insurance company may require a referral to make payment.

More Breast Imaging

3D Mammography

3D mammography, which is sometimes referred to as tomosynthesis. When a mammogram is done this way, it allows radiologists to look at the breast in slices compared to a two-dimensional picture.

Learn more about 3D Mammography

Breast MRI

Mary Greeley Medical Center’s MRI offers high-quality breast imaging capabilities. Because of this, our radiology department offers patients the Gail Score test, which is a breast cancer risk assessment. The test considers several factors, including any family history of breast cancer. Patients who score higher than 20 may be candidates for an insurance-covered breast MRI.

Take the Gail Score test

Breast Cancer Gene Test

The Breast Cancer Gene Test may help you or loved ones determine your risk for developing breast cancer. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may want to have the Breast Cancer Gene Test. Learn more about the Breast Cancer (BRCA) Gene Test.

Self Breast Exam

Self-exams are a good way for women to be aware of the condition of their breasts, and to note any changes that they can report to their doctor. For information about breast cancer and breast self-examination, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. See a step-by-step demonstration on breast self-exams.


An Accredited Breast Center

The William R. Bliss Cancer Center is accredited by National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), which recognizes Bliss Cancer Center’s commitment to offer patients every significant advantage in the fight against breast cancer. NAPBC designation indicates that the Bliss Cancer Center has proven proficiency in leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, education and quality improvement. It also indicates that that patient outcomes meet or exceed national benchmarks. Receiving care at a NAPBC-accredited center ensures that the patient will have access to:

  • Comprehensive care, including a full range of state-of-the-art services
  • A multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate the best treatment options
  • Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options
  • Quality breast care close to home

Learn more about the NAPBC designation.


A mammogram is the best screening test for breast cancer today.

Schedule your mammogram

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