Screening & Diagnostics
The Center for Breast Care's Breast Imaging Center is an American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. We offer a full range of the breast imaging services, including screening and diagnostic mammograms, ultrasound, MRI, and image-guided biopsy. We are one of the leaders of breast imaging service in the Chicagoland area and our radiologists are specially trained in breast imaging.
Annual screening mammography of age-appropriate asymptomatic women is currently the only imaging modality that has been proven to significantly reduce breast cancer mortality. A mammogram uses X-rays to scan the breasts for cancer. UI Health is committed to using the most advanced screening technologies that aid in the early detection of cancer which includes digital mammography. Prior to this technology, the only option was mammograms that record images of the breast on film, which is still done at many imaging centers.
Digital mammography offers a number of practical advantages and patient conveniences:
- Because there's there's no waiting for film to be developed, digital images are immediately available. The technologist can evaluate the quality of the images as they're taken. That means patients spend less time in the exam room and rarely need to return for repeat images due to under or over exposures.
- The digital machine is fast, so patients spend less time in uncomfortable positions.
- Brightness, darkness, or contrast can be adjusted and sections of an image can be magnified after the mammogram is complete making it easier to see subtle differences between tissues. The ability to increase contrast when imaging dense tissue is particularly important, as dense breast tissue and malignant cells both appear to be white on a film mammogram.
- Digital images are easily stored and retrieved.
- Digital images allow for the use of computer-aided detection and objective breast density assessment software to aid the radiologist in interpreting the mammogram.
Screening and Diagnostic Mammograms: The Differences
A screening mammogram is your annual mammogram and is recommended for women who are 40 years or older, or for younger women with specific risk factors for breast cancer. They are used for the early detection of breast cancer and sometimes for other breast health issues.
Diagnostic mammograms are used to evaluate women who have an abnormal screening mammogram, a history of breast abnormality, or a specific breast symptom such as:
- A change in skin color or texture
- A change in size or shape of the breast
- Nipple discharge or inversion
- A personal history of breast cancer
- A personal history of benign breast disease diagnosed by a biopsy, or a previous suspicious breast mass or lump
- Large, augmented, or implanted breasts that are difficult to examine
This test uses high-frequency sound waves, not heard by humans, to provide images of body tissues. The sound waves enter the breast and bounce back. The pattern of their echoes produces a picture called a sonogram, which is displayed on a screen.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
A MRI is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. A contrast-enhanced MRI of the breasts has been shown to have a high sensitivity for detecting breast cancer in women both with or without symptoms.
- Greater than a 20% lifetime risk of breast cancer
- Strong family history
- BRCA ½ carrier
- History of chest radiation
- Screening the contralateral breast in patients with recent breast cancer diagnosis
- Patients with breast implants
If imaging shows an area that requires further evaluation, the doctor may need to look for cancer cells. The procedure is called a biopsy. It can be done using a needle to get a piece of the abnormal tissue, or it can be done with surgery to completely remove the tissue.
Image-guided biopsies may be done under local or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia means drugs are used to numb the area of the breast that the needle will be put into. General anesthesia means you will be given drugs to put you into a deep sleep while the biopsy is being done. There are several types of breast biopsy procedures. The type of biopsy done will depend on the location and size of the breast lump or abnormality.
Breast Density: How it can affect your mammogram
Breast Density is a measure of the amount of breast tissue a woman has. The more tissue, the greater the density and the higher the risk of breast cancer. However, in women with dense breast tissue, mammograms are not as effective in detecting the cancer. This is because both breast tissue and breast cancer will appear white on a mammogram and the lack of contrast makes identification of the cancer more difficult.
The Center for Breast Care is the first program to offer Volpara® Volumetric Breast Density assessment in the Chicago land area. Volapara software is the first of its kind to provide objective assessment of breast density. Dense breast tissue has not only been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, it also decreases the sensitivity of the mammogram and thereby may impact early detection.
Volpara helps radiologists assess breast density more consistently, allowing them to identify women who might benefit from additional screening. Being able to diagnose dense breast tissue at the time of a mammogram also allows the patient to proceed with additional diagnostic testing immediately, rather than being called back for additional appointments.
For more information or to make an appointment call 312.413.4900.