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Digital Mammography Services

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Digital Mammography Services

Washington Women's Center offers a wide range of state-of-the-art diagnostic services in a comfortable setting. Read by our on-site radiologist, diagnostic imaging is clearer than ever, thanks to Washington's advanced Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS).

This powerful digital technology also makes it possible for physicians to receive reports and images more quickly, enabling them to expedite care. Computer-aided detection (CAD) refers to sophisticated pattern recognition software our radiologists use to help them read medical images. This software identifies areas of interest on the medical images and brings them to the attention of the radiologist in order to decrease false negative readings. It does not replace the imaging technology; rather it is an interpretive aid to use as "a second pair of eyes" when reading mammograms.

Computer-aided detection (CAD)
Clinical trials demonstrated that use of the ImageChecker system can result in earlier detection of up to 23.4 percent of cancers currently detected with screening mammography in those women who had a prior screening mammogram nine to 24 months earlier. CAD has received broad support from radiologists, the American College of Radiology, Medicare, and patient advocacy groups. The American Cancer Society has recognized the benefits of CAD as a technology for breast cancer screening in women of average risk. Recently updated guidelines state: "…CAD systems may aid the average radiologist by substantially improving detection of early stage malignancies with no more than a proportionate increase in recall rate."

Meet Our Physicians
Our radiologists review the mammogram then activate the CAD software and re-evaluate the marked area(s) before issuing a final report.

New! - A statement from Dr. Sunil Upender and Dr. Mimi Lin about mammography guideline procedures.

Mimi Lin, M.D., Radiologist, Washington Hospital Medical Staff

Digital Mammography
Digital mammography is different from a standard mammogram. Digital mammography provides greater detail, giving radiologists access to more information so they can make the best possible assessment. With digital pictures, the physician can zoom in, magnify, and optimize different parts of the breast tissue in the picture without having to take an additional image. Digital Mammography can be particularly useful in younger women who often have dense breasts that are difficult to evaluate with conventional mammography. With digital technology the procedure is completed more quickly, and the clarity of the images means fewer retakes are needed - both factors that women appreciate. We offer convenient appointment times from early morning to evening time.

 

Making an appointment:

Call (510) 791-3410 to schedule your screening appointment. You will need a physician order prior to your appointment date. Be sure to bring you physician order with you to avoid appointment delays.

Preparing for your screening mammogram

Previous Mammograms: If you have had previous mammograms taken at another facility it is helpful to obtain film copies by contacting the facility where they were done. This saves time and may avoid unnecessary additional testing. Bring these with you to your appointment or you can sign a waiver to give us permission to obtain your prior mammograms at your scheduled appointment time. Our radiologist will review prior studies and compare with your current mammogram to establish a baseline and more accurately detect any changes in breast tissue that may have occurred over time.

Registration: We can obtain all the information needed over the phone at the time you make your appointment. Please come 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to check-in and get changed for your mammogram. We offer tea, coffee and healthy snacks for your comfort.

If you have the time you may want to stay, have a snack, and check out our Women's Health Resource Center or schedule a brief or 50 minute Massage after your mammography appointment right in the spa-like setting of our Women's Center.

Appointment day: Our women's center offers women privacy and comfort. You will be escorted to a dressing room and provided with shirt gown and robe to keep you warm and comfortable. Please do not apply talcum powder or deodorant to your underarms and breast area. These products can alter the images obtained. We have one time deodorant packets for your use if you wish to use them after your exam.

Mammography is only one important tool for breast examination. The American Cancer Society recommends the following cancer screening guidelines for those people at average risk for cancer (unless otherwise specified) and without any specific symptoms.

  • Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
  • Clinical breast exam (CBE) should be part of a periodic health exam, about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over.
  • Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care providers. Dimpling of the skin or nipple, nipple discharge, rashes on the breast or a lump not noted previously should be reported. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.
  • Women at high risk (greater than 20 percent lifetime risk) should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. Women at moderately increased risk (15 percent to 20 percent lifetime risk) should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram. Yearly MRI screening is not recommended for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15 percent.

People who are at increased risk for breast cancer may need to follow a different screening schedule, such as starting at an earlier age or being screened more often. Those with symptoms that could be related to breast cancer should see their doctor right away.

Your health care provider will perform a clinical exam of the breast with each wellness check up as appropriate for your age and risk factors. Plan to discuss the importance of self breast exam at your next visit. If you wish to make an appointment to learn more about self breast exam you can meet with our nurse educator and learn how to do a Self Breast Exam. You will watch a short video and then practice with a breast model. By appointment only, please allow 20 to 30 minutes. Call (510) 608-1356 to schedule an appointment.

Alternately, click on the link below to learn more about self breast exam:

Breast Health Awareness - This site has Spanish and Hindi versions as well.