The Breast Care Center
Diagnostic Breast Imaging
In order to screen for breast cancer, women should have a regular mammogram beginning at age 40. Digital mammograms give your doctor very detailed imaging of the breast tissue. If you feel a mass during your monthly, regular self-examination, you should schedule an appointment to see your doctor. But, please do not be too alarmed—around 85 percent of lumps are not cancerous.
If you find a mass during your self-examination, or your doctor feels one during a clinical examination, you will have a digital mammogram at Wake Forest. Breast cancer diagnosis is based on imaging studies and breast biopsies. At the Comprehensive Cancer Center, we offer advanced breast imaging diagnostics, including:
- Digital Mammograms
- Breast Ultrasound
- Breast MRI
Digital mammograms are a form of X-ray technology that provide your radiologist (the doctor who interprets your scans) accurate control over the picture. Masses in the breast typically look white on a mammogram—but breast tissue can also look white.
With digital technology, your radiologist can examine the lump closely for signs of breast cancer. Having the ability to zero in on the mass and examine it in finer detail means that your doctors can make a decision about moving ahead with a breast biopsy. Your breast surgeon may use a digital mammogram during the breast biopsy for greater precision in examining a mass.
Breast ultrasounds are used to examine the breast and breast tissue. We use the same technology used to examine an unborn baby—a combination of sound waves, a wand and an imaging screen. Your breast surgeons may recommend using a breast ultrasound during a breast biopsy for finer detail, or to examine a mass from a different perspective.
An MRI is a diagnostic imaging tool that uses magnetic pulses, instead of radiation, to take pictures of the inside of the human body. MRIs are very sensitive and can show your doctors very fine images of the breast tissue. Often breast MRIs are used during breast biopsies, but may be used on their own to examine a tumor, or the possible spread of breast cancer.