Early detection is your best protection against breast cancer. At CHI Saint Joseph Health, we offer the most advanced technology available to catch any issues with greater accuracy, shorter exam times and faster results.
Many of our facilities have earned designation as an American College of Radiology (ACR) Breast Imaging Center of Excellence for providing the highest-quality services to our communities. Each center is staffed by board-certified radiologists who provide personalized, compassionate care. That’s complemented by a beautiful and soothing setting, including private dressing rooms, so you feel at ease.
With convenient locations and hours, plus same-day appointments often available, it’s never been easier to take charge of your breast health.
Mammogram: One Scan Can Save Your Life
We encourage every woman age 40 and older to get an annual mammogram, following the long-standing recommendation from the American College of Radiology. Mammography is safe, fast and painless, and has proven to be the most effective tool for detecting breast cancer early.
At CHI Saint Joseph Health, all screening mammograms are performed digitally, allowing our radiologists much greater flexibility in reading images. We also offer 3D mammography (tomosynthesis), which takes several images of each breast from different angles and assembles them to create a clear, three-dimensional picture. These detailed images provide the highest level of accuracy for even the smallest tumors, and are especially helpful in evaluating patients with dense breast tissue.
Same-day appointments are offered at most locations, and your results will typically be available within 24-48 hours.
To schedule your mammogram, find a screening location near you.
Physician and Self-Breast Exams
The American College of Radiology recommends that women have a breast exam by a doctor or nurse about every three years if you are in your 20s and 30s. Beginning at age 40, this exam should be done every year. 80 percent of newly diagnosed breast cancers are seen on mammography, but approximately 25 percent of these cancers are found by physical examination.
In addition, you should perform a monthly self-breast exam, about 7-10 days after the start of your menstrual period, to become familiar with the lumps and bumps of your breasts. If you are no longer having periods, choose one day of the month and perform the exam on the same day of each month.
During the exam, note if any area has grown or feels different from the previous monthly. If an area has changed, contact your primary care physician right away. Most questionable areas turn out to be normal tissue or fibrocystic changes. Lumps in the breast that shrink (or come and go) are not related to cancer.
Additional Screening Tests
If your mammogram shows an abnormality, you may need additional diagnostic testing, including:
- Breast biopsy: A core biopsy is performed using a small needle guided by ultrasound, MRI or mammography to obtain tissue for diagnosis. CHI Saint Joseph Health has earned national accreditation in both stereotactic biopsy and breast ultrasound with ultrasound-guided biopsy—both simpler, faster and less invasive options compared to surgery. Saint Joseph East in Lexington was the first hospital in Kentucky to offer 3D stereotactic biopsy, resulting in precise location of abnormalities.
- Breast MRI: This noninvasive test uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency and a computer to produce detailed images of the breast. MRI is a valuable supplemental tool to mammogram screenings for newly diagnosed cancers or for patients who are at an elevated risk for the disease.
- Breast Ultrasound: Ultrasound is a painless, highly effective test to evaluate masses found on a screening mammogram or causes of new breast symptoms Because ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves—not radiation—it is commonly used in women younger than 30 years of age as the initial exam for breast symptoms.
Most abnormal findings turn out to be benign or nothing to worry about. Should cancer be detected, our team can help answer questions, guide you through your entire treatment and provide extra support every step of the way.