Breast Care Services
In accordance with our ongoing committment to excellence, North State Imaging in conjunction with North Valley Advanced Imaging and the Breast Care Center of Northern California, provides screening and diagnostic breast care services including state-of-the-art full-field digital mammography, high-resolution breast ultrasound, breast MRI, and stereotactic, ultrasound, and MR-guided breast biopsy.
A screening mammogram is a routine x-ray of the breast that is performed annually on women age 40 and older who have no specific signs or symptoms of breast disease (ie: no lumps, focal pain, skin changes, nipple change or discharge). Women at increased risk for developing breast cancer due to family history or other factors should discuss with their doctor whether beginning screening mammography at a younger age or at more frequent intervals would be appropriate.
A diagnostic mammogram is a “problem solving” mammogram that is performed on:
- women with signs or symptoms of breast disease.
- women with a recent finding on a screening mammogram.
- women for follow-up of a previous mammographic or sonographic finding.
Diagnostic exams are tailored to your individual problem or finding and may involve both mammographic and ultrasound imaging. Your images are interpreted by our radiologist during your appointment and you will be notified of the exam findings right away. Because of this, your appointment may take as long as 2 hours.
A small percentage of diagnostic exams show findings that are of concern and require a breast biopsy. These biopsies, called “needle core biopsies”, are performed on an outpatient basis with local anesthetic. The biopsy is performed using image-guidance and the tissue is sent to the pathologist for diagnosis. Core biopsies are accurate and are well tolerated by most women. Most biopsies are benign (non-cancerous) but, depending on your results, you may require surgical intervention.
A Breast MRI is a very sensitive exam that can provide additional information about your breast structure which may not be visible with mammography or ultrasound and may not be felt during a clinical breast exam. MRI utilizes a combination of a magnetic field, radio waves, and computer processing to derive images and can be used to screen women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer due to a strong family history or those who carry the breast cancer genes BRCA 1 or 2. It is also used to stage cancer in women recently diagnosed, to assess the response to chemotherapy in women being treated prior to surgery, and to assess the breast tissue in women with implants.
Women’s Imaging Team
Our Women’s Imaging Team consists of a unified team of radiologists and technologists specially trained in breast imaging, as well as a nurse navigator. Strategic partnerships with pathology and breast surgery allow us to provide fully integrated comprehensive breast care services to our patients.
Important to Remember
Having a diagnostic mammogram and/or breast biopsy can create anxiety. Although you may feel that your personal situation is urgent, it is important to keep the following in perspective:
- The majority of screening and diagnostic mammogram exams are benign.
- The majority of needle core biopsies are benign.
- Breast cancer is generally a very slowly progressing disease.
- It takes about 7-10 years before most breast cancers are even detectable by our best current testing and, even then, the cancer is still considered “early” and very treatable/curable.
- Waiting a week, a month, or even longer for your appointment should not affect your outcome unfavorably.