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.
Mammography screening guidelines
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) 818-7410 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 three 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
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) 818-7356 to schedule an
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.