Digital mammography is one of the most advanced technologies available to detect breast cancer. Full-field digital mammography has revolutionized the practice of mammography by providing a crisper, sharper image that increases the diagnostic information the radiologist needs in detecting cancers and breast abnormalities.
The Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital has Selenia® Dimensions™ 2D Full-Field Digital Mammography. This advanced system benefits the patient by reducing the amount of required radiation needed to provide clear, crisp images. The system also provides more patient comfort and shorter exam times. The paddle conforms more comfortably to the breast, and mammogram testing is faster thanks to the system's ability to assist in accurate positioning of the breast and automatically shifting to the next imaging position.
Certified as a Softer Mammogram Provider™, we offer women a free MammoPad®, an FDA-cleared foam cushion that dramatically eases the discomfort many women feel when they get a mammogram.
The MammoPad breast cushion was designed for women by a female breast surgeon. In addition to being FDA-cleared, it does not impair image quality and makes it easier for you to be relaxed, warm and comfortable during your exam. In clinical studies, the MammoPad was shown to reduce mammogram discomfort by half for 3 out of 4 women.
Breast Ultrasound and Breast MRI
Ultrasound procedures utilize sound waves to distinguish the physical makeup of an abnormality detected through mammography or breast examination. The ultrasound is simple, painless and usually completed in less than 30 minutes. Women under 40 years of age with any detected malnormality will usually be scheduled for an ultrasound rather than a mammogram.
For women with an elevated risk for breast cancer, a screening breast MRI is now recommended annually in conjunction with mammography. Those who are considered high-risk include women who carry a BRCA gene mutation, untested women with a first degree relative with a BRCA gene mutation and women with estimated lifetime risk of developing breast cancer greater than 20 to 25 percent.
A breast biopsy is usually performed when an abnormality is detected. The procedure takes just a few minutes after local anesthesia is employed.
Core needle biopsies are performed using stereotactic equipment or with ultrasonic guidance. Tissue is removed from the abnormality, which is then reviewed by a pathologist. This procedure is usually completed in about an hour, and results are available to your physician after three working days.
The Herman & Samuelson Breast Care Center's stereotactic biopsy table was recently upgraded to provide more comfort and increased flexibility for patient positioning. The new table helps patients relax, which in turn leads to shorter procedure times.
Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease affecting thousands of women in this country. State-of-the-art bone densitometry studies measure bone mineral density of the lumbar spine, hips and forearms. The test is safe, quick and non-invasive.
Women can monitor their bone health in relation to a variety of risk factors for osteoporosis:
- Broken bones or stooped posture in older family members
- Hormone deficiency due to menopause or other conditions
- Advanced age
- Diet low in calcium
- Inactive lifestyle
- Cigarette smoking
- Excessive alcohol
Genetic Counseling & Testing
A counseling session with a trained genetic counselor is available for people who have a strong family history of breast cancer. A genetic screening test analyzes a person's DNA to look for genetic alterations that may indicate an increased risk for developing certain cancers. Patients who know they are at increased risk for breast cancer can start cancer screenings earlier and have them done more frequently than what is recommended for someone at average risk. For more information, call 410-701-4328.