Imaging Department

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is a low dose x-ray that allows doctors called radiologists to look for changes in breast tissue. There are also two types of Mammograms, a screening or diagnostic mammogram. Currently, WCCHC offers only screening mammograms.

A mammogram uses a machine designed to look only at breast tissue. The machine takes x-rays at lower doses than usual x-rays. Because these x-rays do not go through tissue easily, the machine has 2 plates that flatten or compress the breast to spread the tissue apart. This gives a better picture and allows less radiation to be used.

What is the Purpose of a Mammogram?

Mammograms can detect cancers that are too small to be felt during a monthly breast self-exam. Early detection of breast cancer reduces the risk of fatality from the disease by 25-30% or more. Women should begin having annual mammograms at age 40, or earlier if they're at high risk. Discuss with your healthcare provider.

Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat.

How do I prepare?

  • Wear a 2-piece outfit with no metal (zippers, buttons, or belts)
  • Do not use any deodorant, lotion, or powder. They may show up on the x-ray
  • Bring your photo ID
  • Bring your insurance card

What Can I Expect?

During a Mammogram

A technologist will position your breast on a plate. Another plate will firmly press your breast from above. The plates will flatten the breast, which produces a better image. You will feel some pressure. The steps are repeated to make a side view of the breast. The other breast will be x-rayed in the same way. Keep in mind that the technologist cannot tell you the results of your mammogram. Each woman's mammogram may look a little different because all breasts are a little different.

Having a mammogram can be uncomfortable for some women. A mammogram takes only a few moments, though, and the discomfort is over soon. Your breasts may be more sensitive if you are about to get or have your period.

After the Mammogram

After a mammogram, you generally can resume normal activities. You may feel tenderness in the breasts as a side effect, but it should not last longer than a day. If other side effects occur or pain lasts for more than that call your doctor right away.


With the new advances in equipment at WCCHC your images can be sent to a Radiologist instantly for review. Your physician will receive the results within 24 hours. Depending on your results, additional tests may be ordered to develop an accurate diagnosis.

Where to Check In

Waianae (Main Campus) – 86-260 Farrington Hwy.
Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Family Medicine Building
2nd Floor, Women's Health Department

Our Imaging Department offers mammograms Monday - Thursday from 9:00am to 4:00pm. No referral is needed from your physician and walk-ins are welcome. If you prefer to make an appointment, call (808) 697-3487 Monday - Saturday between 8am – 6pm

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