Mammography and Ontario Breast Screening Program

Cornwall Community Hospital’s Mammography Department is accredited with the Canadian Association of Radiologists and an Ontario Breast Screening site.

The Canadian Association of Radiologists sets the standard for the equipment, film quality, and skill level of the staff. The accreditation process evaluates equipment and personnel yearly. In addition to this, the Ontario Breast Screening program evaluates image quality biannually.

Mammography is an important medical imaging procedure used to screen healthy women for small curable breast cancers. A mammogram can identify abnormalities before a lump may be felt, and therefore aids in early detection of breast cancer which improves your chances of successful treatment.

Our goal is to provide you with the highest quality breast imaging in a caring environment.


Booking Appointments

If you wish to be part of the Ontario Breast Screening Program you may book your own appointment if you:

  • Are aged 50 to 74;
  • Are a resident of Ontario;
  • Are not experiencing any acute breast symptoms;
  • have not had a mammogram within the past 11 months;
  • have not been diagnosed with breast cancer; and
  • do not have breast implants.

Your family doctor may also refer you for a mammogram before the age of 50 either for screening or if you are experiencing breast symptoms.


Before the Exam

Schedule the exam for when breast tissue is least tender; this is most often a week or more after your period.

Avoiding caffeinated drinks can decrease discomfort during the exam.

Inform the technologist if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have breast implants.


On the day of your exam

Do not apply any deodorant, talcum powder, lotions, or perfume near your breasts or under your arms. Wear a two-piece outfit as you will be asked to change from the waist up.

Bring copies of previous mammograms and reports with you. If you have them done in the same facility each time, they will have results from prior tests. The technologist will use the old images to compare to the new ones.

Describe any breast problems to the technologist before the exam.


Description of the Procedure

During mammography, a specially qualified technologist will position your breast in the mammography unit. Your breast will be placed on a special platform and compressed with a paddle (often made of clear Plexiglas or other plastic). The technologist will gradually compress your breast. If at any time this procedure is extremely uncomfortable please inform your technologist. A slight change in your position is what is needed.

Breast compression is necessary in order to:

  • Even out the breast thickness so that all of the tissue can be visualized.
  • Spread out the tissue so that small abnormalities are less likely to be obscured by overlying breast tissue.
  • Allow the use of a lower x-ray dose since a thinner amount of breast tissue is being imaged.
  • Hold the breast still in order to minimize blurring of the image caused by motion.

After the exam

Several patients may be asked to return for additional views and/or a breast ultrasound. The breast is composed of fibrous and glandular tissues of varying density. It is often difficult to determine if an abnormality is real or the result of tissue overlapping tissue. By rolling the breast and compressing it in a different fashion, the radiologist is better able to evaluate the area in question.

The majority of patients who are asked to return are found to have no significant abnormality. A few patients will be referred for an aspiration or core biopsy to determine if the abnormality is benign or malignant.

We understand your concerns and we are here to give you the highest quality of breast imaging with the fastest possible service.

Contact information

The booking desk is open Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. hours to 3:00 p.m.

Phone: 613-938-4240, ext. 4451
Fax: 613-938-4066