You're Never too Busy for Your Annual Mammogram

Breast Imaging Center

The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older have a mammogram every year. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast, using very low levels of radiation. Because of the low radiation level of the exam, there is no increased risk of breast cancer from the procedure. The American Cancer Society compares the amount of radiation dosage from a mammogram to the amount of radiation exposure from a flight between California and New York City.

Medicare, MediCal and most health plans cover all or part of the cost of this test. Women without health insurance should contact the Every Woman Counts program at 1-800-511-2300. This program provides funding for mammograms and other gynecologic services to women who meet specific income guidelines.

The Breast Imaging Center is accredited by the American College of Radiology in mammography.  
American College Of Radiology - Mammography

Digital Mammography

Digital mammography is a highly advanced procedure for breast cancer screening that can drastically improve results.

The machine takes an electronic image of the breast and stores it on a computer, allowing it to be enhanced, modified or manipulated for further evaluation. Unlike film mammography, digital mammograms can be viewed on a computer or printed and can even produce traditional films, allowing for improved means of transmission, storage and retrieval of images. Digital imaging allows the images to be manipulated in numerous ways to aid in the identification of tumors.

Digital mammography can provide significant improvement in breast cancer detection for some women. Specifically, studies have found enhanced detection through digital mammography in the following groups:

  • Women under the age of 50
  • Women with dense breasts
  • Premenopausal and perimenopausal women

Digital mammography also possesses considerable advantages in terms of radiation use. The new system is able to use a lower dosage of radiation without compromising its diagnostic accuracy.

The ability of digital mammography to improve the detection of breast cancer in many women makes it an important addition to the services that we offer our patients.

Ultrasonography

Ultrasound exams use high-frequency sound waves, which are transmitted through the area of the body being studied. No radiation exposure occurs. The sound wave echoes are picked up and displayed on a television screen. This exam is noninvasive and painless and is used mainly to determine if a structure or mass is solid or liquid. It is useful in detecting breast cysts in young women with firm, fibrous breasts.

Core Needle Biopsy

Needle biopsies may be performed when an identified lump is difficult to locate or in areas that look suspicious on the X-ray. After the area is numbed by an injection of local anesthesia, a needle is inserted into the breast. Stereotactic core biopsy computerized equipment maps the location of the mass, and this is used as a guide for the needle placement. Ultrasound may also determine needle placement. A hypodermic needle (like the type used to give injections) is inserted, and a specimen is suctioned (aspirated) for biopsy analysis.

Fine Needle Aspiration

This procedure is performed much like the core needle biopsy, but it uses a thinner needle. The procedure may be performed when an identified lump is difficult to locate or is in an area that looks suspicious on the X-ray. After the area is numbed by an injection of local anesthesia, a needle is inserted into the breast. A hypodermic needle (like the type used to give injections) is inserted, and a specimen is suctioned (aspirated) for biopsy analysis.

Bone Density

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile, and therefore are more likely to break. While women are four times more likely than men to develop the disease, men may also be at risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease" because bone loss occurs without symptoms. People may not know that they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, bump or fall causes a hip fracture or other broken bone.

Your doctor may order a bone mineral density (BMD) test for:

  • All postmenopausal women under age 65 who have one or more additional risk factors for osteoporosis (in addition to being postmenopausal and female)
  • All women age 65 and older regardless of additional risk factors
  • Postmenopausal women who present with fractures (to confirm diagnosis and determine disease severity)
  • Women who are considering therapy for osteoporosis if BMD testing would facilitate the decision
  • Women who have been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT/ERT) for prolonged periods

A BMD test is painless, noninvasive and safe. It measures your bone density and compares the test results to two standards, or norms, known as "age matched" and "young normal." The age-matched reading compares your bone density to what is expected in someone of your age, sex and size. The young normal reading compares your density to the optimal peak bone density of a healthy young adult of the same sex. Results of the test help your physician determine the best course of action for your bone health.

Contact the Breast Imaging Center

For more information or to make an appointment, call us at 951-736-4846. We are located in the main hospital.