- Medical Imaging
- Radiation Safety
- Medical Imaging Records
- For Referring Providers and Staff
Where Is digital mammography available?
MultiCare Medical Imaging offers digital mammography at MultiCare Gig Harbor Medical Park, Covington MultiCare Clinic, MultiCare Auburn Medical Center and Auburn MultiCare Health Center. It is a partner in the Carol Milgard Breast Center, which provides mammography services in Tacoma, and Diagnostic Imaging Northwest, which offers mammography in Puyallup.
What is digital mammography?
Digital mammography takes an image of the breast and stores it directly in a computer. Both digital and film mammography use X-rays to produce an image of the breast. However, digital mammography uses less radiation than film mammography.
In addition to the clarity of digital imaging, MultiCare uses software called computer aided detection or CAD. This software is like a second pair of specially trained eyes looking at the digital images. Once your breast images have been taken, CAD technology automatically reviews them and marks potential abnormalities for the radiologist to examine while reading your mammogram.
The image above shows a film mammogram on the left and a much clearer digital image on the right.
What are screening mammograms like?
For your comfort, your mammogram will always be performed in private by a certified female technologist with advanced training in mammography.
Typically, a screening mammogram consists of two views of each breast, one from above and one from the side. Images are obtained by compressing your breast tissue between a compression paddle and plate. Adequate compression is essential to detect subtle abnormalities and reduce radiation exposure.
How to prepare for your mammogram
Following these tips may reduce discomfort from breast compression:
- Schedule your examination one week following your menstrual cycle.
- Eliminate coffee, tea or caffeinated products five days prior to your exam.
- Take a non-aspirin pain reliever such as Tylenol (Acetaminophen), Motrin/Advil (Ibuprofen), or Aleve (Naproxen) one hour before your examination.
When you schedule your appointment let us know if:
- You have had previous mammograms at other locations
- You are nursing or if you think you could be pregnant
- You have breast implants, so that extra time may be allotted
- You have had any recent breast surgeries or biopsies
- You have or have had a personal history of breast cancer
To avoid delay or rescheduling of your mammogram:
- Please make arrangements for child care during your scheduled appointment time. If you are unable to find care, please call and reschedule your appointment.
- Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to register for your exam.
- Plan for at least 30 additional minutes to complete the entire exam process.
- Remove any powder, perfumes, deodorant and/or lotions from your underarms and breasts. Moist towelettes are provided and deodorant is available to reapply after your exam.
Mammograms with breast implants
All women, including those with breast implants, should participate in regular mammography screenings. Mammography with breast implants requires special positioning and additional mammographic views. The implants make the examination harder to read, making monthly self exams, clinical physical examinations and digital screening a very important part of breast implant health.
A mammogram with breast implants will usually consist of four views of each breast, one from above and one from the side and two displacement views.
Does it mean I have cancer if my mammogram result is abnormal?
With digital mammography, radiologists are seeing more details not seen before. It is not uncommon to get called back for an additional look. A vast majority of breast abnormalities are benign (not cancer).
How will I get the results of my mammogram?
Your mammogram and any additional studies will be carefully examined by a board-certified radiologist. Your findings will be forwarded to your health care provider. A letter briefly explaining the results will be mailed to your address.
I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, what should I do next?
At the MultiCare Regional Cancer Center, we offer a Nurse Navigator program as a resource to help you navigate through the complexity of a breast cancer diagnosis. From treatment information to side effects, our Nurse Navigators work with you and the physicians managing your care every step of the way.
MultiCare Breast Health Achieves Seventh Straight Year of Perfect National Inspections
MultiCare’s breast health centers received their fifth consecutive perfect review from the FDA’s Mammography Quality Standards Program.
The annual review is part of a nationwide program to “ensure that all women have access to quality mammography for the detection of breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages,” according to the FDA’s Web site.
The FDA found that MultiCare Auburn Health Center, Covington MultiCare Clinic and MultiCare Gig Harbor Medical Park meet all national guidelines for mammography.