When you get a mammogram at EvergreenHealth or at the mobile coach, you have the best chance of detecting breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.
Thanks to our advanced Genius 3-D mammography technology and the skill of our specially-trained breast radiologists, we can spot developing cancer not seen by regular 2-D mammography.
The Genius 3-D Mammography Experience
The screening experience is similar to that of a traditional mammogram. The only difference is the x-ray arm will move in an arc, taking multiple breast images from many angles in just seconds.
The images are then sent to a computer, which produces clear, highly focused 3-dimensional images throughout the breast.
These images allow our breast radiologists to view 1 mm slice images through the breast tissue for closer, clearer looks at any areas of suspicion, which enable them to spot cancers earlier.
Types of Mammograms
Screening mammograms are used to detect breast cancer in women who have no apparent symptoms or signs of breast cancer and are considered at average risk for breast cancer.
A screening mammogram typically takes 10-15 minutes.
When to Get a Screening Mammogram
You've probably heard a lot of different opinions regarding how early, and how often, women should get mammograms.
EvergreenHealth's breast cancer experts recommend you continue to follow the American Cancer Society's guidelines, which include:
- Breast self-exam starting in their 20s; you should report any breast change promptly to their health care provider.
- Clinical breast exam as part of a periodic health exam, about every three years in your 20s and 30s and annually for women 40 and older.
- Yearly mammograms starting at age 40.
- If you are at high risk (personal or familial history of breast cancer) get a mammogram and a breast MRI every year.
EvergreenHealth continues to recommend annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40.
While mammograms have known limitations, studies have shown their use to be associated with improvements in survival for women ages 40 to 74.
Your Baseline Mammogram
Your first screening mammogram will be the baseline mammogram against which all future tests will be compared to look for changes in your breast tissue.
If a future screening mammogram shows something that needs more investigation, you will be scheduled for a follow-up diagnostic mammogram.
Your Screening Mammogram Results
The EvergreenHealth Breast Health Center performs about 20,000 3-D screening mammograms every year. In about 10 percent (2,000) of those scans, our radiologists will see something that they want a closer look at.
If you fall into that category, you'll be scheduled for a follow-up diagnostic mammogram to get additional views of the area in question. If warranted, a breast ultrasound will be taken. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, you may get a breast MRI.
Of the 2,000 women who receive a follow-up diagnostic mammogram:
- 60 percent (1,200) are cleared with no findings. They return to a screening mammogram at their next scheduled mammography appointment.
- 20 percent (400) will be classified as “probably benign”. They will return in six months for another evaluation. If everything remains stable after two years of follow-up, they are considered benign and return to their regular schedule of screening mammograms.
- 20 percent (400) return a suspicious finding that needs a further look, so we recommend proceeding to a breast biopsy. A breast radiologist will explain what the diagnostic mammogram found, and why they recommend you have a breast biopsy.
Learn more about breast biopsies and other diagnostic tests
Diagnostic mammograms are used when there's a sign of possible breast cancer, such as breast pain or discovery of a breast lump. It will also be used as a follow-up if there are suspicious results on a screening mammogram. Diagnostic mammograms may be recommended if you have a family history of breast cancer.
A diagnostic mammogram may take longer, because the technician will be taking more images.