A mammogram is a special type of X-ray of the breasts. Mammograms can show tumors long before they are big enough for you or your health care provider to feel. Mammograms are recommended every year or two for women older than 40. They are also recommended for younger women who have symptoms of breast cancer or who have a high risk of the disease. Mammograms are quick and easy. You stand in front of an X-ray machine. The person who takes the X-rays places your breast between two plastic plates. The plates press your breast and make it flat. This may be uncomfortable, but it helps get a clear picture. You will have an X-ray of each breast. A mammogram takes only a few seconds and it can help save your life.