Breast Health Center
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. Astria Regional Medical Center provides helpful services to educate women on breast health and encourage self-exams and routine screenings. We utilize highly sophisticated imaging technology that can detect breast cancer at the earliest stages, when treatment can be most effective. Our technologists have a gentle touch and use the latest technology to create the most accurate and comfortable experience possible.
Mammography is an x-ray exam of the breasts used to screen for or diagnose breast cancer. Astria Regional Medical Center offers state-of-the-art imaging technology for mammograms.
Along with mammography, breast MRI can be an effective diagnostic tool. Breast MRI is often used for women who are at greater risk of developing breast cancer or who have dense breast tissue or implants—cases in which mammography is less effective at detecting abnormalities. This technique offers a more comfortable experience for women and is used to:
- Assess the extent of breast cancer
- Determine the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiation therapy during breast cancer treatment
- Further evaluate abnormalities that were found during a mammogram or clinical exam
- Provide additional detail for treatment planning
Breast Ultrasound (Sonography)
A breast ultrasound is often used to further evaluate an abnormality found during a mammogram. Ultrasound allows doctors to see the area closest to the chest wall, which can be difficult to see using mammography. This technology also helps doctors determine whether a breast lump is filled with fluid (a cyst) or is a solid mass.
Ultrasound-Guided Core Biopsies
An ultrasound-guided core biopsy allows doctors to test an abnormal breast lesion using a minimally invasive procedure. An ultrasound machine is used to find the location of the lesion and then guides a hollow needle to the appropriate area. The needle then extracts breast tissue for testing. In previous procedures, the breast tissue had to be surgically removed.
Not only are ultrasound-guided breast biopsies less invasive, but they are also less expensive and take less time. The procedure is usually done within 15 minutes, and patients have their results within a day or two.
This new procedure can also benefit doctors. Even if cancer is confirmed, many doctors prefer their patient undergoes an Ultrasound Guided Core Biopsy. This procedure can determine the aggressiveness of the cancer so that doctors have a better idea of what to expect during surgery. This means that doctors can better prepare the patient and their family for the expected outcomes of surgery.
Patients diagnosed with breast cancer who will be having chemotherapy before their actual breast surgery are good candidates for clip placement, which can be done during an ultrasound-guided core biopsy. During clip placement, a small titanium clip is placed in the center of the breast lesion.
Clip placement is important because it can help the surgeon identify the placement of the cancerous lesion during surgery. Chemotherapy is often done before surgery because it can shrink the cancer to a more manageable size before surgery is performed. Without clip placement, it can be difficult for surgeons to find the cancerous lesion after chemotherapy is performed because, ideally, the lesion is much smaller than it originally was. The clip serves as a kind of "target" for surgeons, and can be seen during mammograms, ultrasounds and breast MRIs.
On the Day of Your Exam
Please arrive 10 minutes early to allow time for paperwork. Please bring insurance information and photo ID.
Please wear a two-piece outfit, and do not use perfume, powder, cream or deodorant on the breast or underarm area. These products can interfere with the effectiveness of the machine.
For a screening exam or breast ultrasound, please allow 30 minutes. A diagnostic exam will take an hour or more. The Breast Health Center also offers ductograms, cyst aspirations and needle localizations.
We will bill insurance or Medicare for all exams. Please be aware that you will receive a separate bill from Yakima Valley Radiology for the radiologist reading fee.