A mammogram is a type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray to produce an image of internal breast tissue. A screening mammogram plays a central part in early detection of breast cancer because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year, as well as a clinical breast exam. Women at increased risk due to a strong family history of breast cancer should ask their physician about screening before age 40 and about the frequency of screening. A diagnostic mammogram is a state-of-the-art test used to evaluate breast abnormalities such as a lump or breast pain. Other diagnostic imaging options may include breast ultrasound, breast MRI or biopsy. Learn more about digital mammograms, the lates technology in mammography.