Early detection serves as one of the most important tools in the fight against breast cancer. That’s why we offer an extensive list of screenings and services. Utilizing the latest technology, our goal is to detect any signs of concern as early as possible. We know waiting for important results can be stressful, which is why in most instances patients receive their results on the day of their visit.
As a sign of our innovative spirit, the Breast Care Center at St. Joseph Healthcare was the first hospital in the region to offer 3D mammography — also known as tomosynthesis breast imaging — to our patients beginning in 2013.
3D mammograms help radiologists detect more cancers and reduce the effect of overlapping tissues. They are beneficial for all women, especially those with dense breast tissue. 3D mammography screenings are available to all patients.3D Mammography
Ultrasounds use a hand-held transducer, or camera, to take pictures using sound waves. They’re best used to take a closer look at a specific area of concern. Ultrasounds can help determine if a lump or mass is fluid-filled or solid. It is also used to help see abnormalities during a biopsy.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is a highly sensitive tool that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce highly detailed imaging of the breasts. It is used in addition to mammography for screening high risk women. It is also used prior to surgery to help better evaluate the extent of disease for women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer. In addition, it can be beneficial in determining if chemotherapy is working. There is no radiation from a breast MRI exam.
Prior to the scan, you may eat or drink whatever you’d like and take any medications as usual.
The technologist will review your history and go over a questionnaire with you prior to imaging.
You’ll change from the waist up and the technologist will insert an IV.
You’ll be positioned on the MRI table face-down on your stomach. Your head will be cradled, like a massage table, and your arms will be positioned above your head in a swimmer’s pose.
It typically takes 20 minutes for the scan. Part of the way through, the technologist will administer the contract dye which may feel cold in your upper arm for a few seconds.
After the scan, the technologist will have you sit up and the IV will be removed.
Results from your scan will be made available to your ordering provider within one week. If there are any findings that require additional imaging, you will be notified by your ordering provider.
A core biopsy enables our physicians to diagnose findings detected on mammography, ultrasound or MRI. This procedure is designed to save women from undergoing unnecessary surgery. It is relatively painless and minimally invasive making it a faster and less traumatic alternative to traditional biopsy.
After our technologist has positioned you and has performed the necessary breast imaging, the physician will locate the area to be biopsied.
Your skin will then be cleansed with an antiseptic and the biopsy area will be numbed.
A small hollow needle will be inserted into the area of concern. You may feel some pressure as the device is positioned, but most women report feeling little or no pain.
Multiple tissue samples will be taken for microscopic examination to study the makeup of cells. You may hear a hum, beep, click or vacuum sound as the samples are collected.
The physician will insert a tiny titanium marker or clip at the biopsy site so that its exact location can easily be identified in the future. This marker poses no health or safety risk and you will not feel or notice it after placement.
A specialized test, called bone mineral density test, measures the density of bone in various parts of the body. The test used to measure bone density is known as the Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA). This measures the bone mineral density of the spine and hip.
Bone Density and Osteoporosis
We follow the American College of Radiology screening guidelines which recommend yearly screening mammography for all average risk women beginning by age 40 and continuing yearly if a woman is in reasonably good health.
Women at higher-than-average risk due to a strong family history of breast cancer or a genetic predisposition may need to start screening earlier and may benefit from supplemental MRI screening in addition to mammography.