Comprehensive women’s breast imaging services are available at multiple Breastlink sites throughout Southern California.
What is Breast Imaging?
Breast imaging refers to the various diagnostic imaging procedures performed by radiologists for breast cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Radiologists rely on several different breast imaging tools in the fight against breast cancer.
Why are Breast Imaging Procedures Performed?
Breast cancer affects more women than any other non-skin cancer. Breast imaging plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Breast imaging procedures are generally performed for one of two reasons:
- to screen for potential breast abnormalities or
- to determine the exact nature of a previously detected breast abnormality.
Mammography is the most widely used and most effective breast cancer screening procedure. Mammography can detect breast cancers up to two years before they become evident to a woman or her physician during a physical examination.
Current guidelines recommend women aged 40 and above have a screening mammography performed every year. If breast screening reveals a potential abnormality in a woman’s breasts, she will be sent for further diagnostic mammography or other diagnostic imaging procedures. These diagnostic imaging procedures are performed to provide her physicians with more detailed information about her condition and to help them decide on the best course of treatment.
Types of Breast Imaging Procedures
- Mammography: Mammography uses X-rays to produce images of breast tissue in order to detect lumps, tumors or other abnormalities that may be present in the breast. Images produced by mammography are called mammograms.
- 3D Mammography: 3D mammography, also known as breast tomosynthesis, is a relatively new technology that produces 3-dimensional images of breast tissue rather than the 2-dimensional images produced by traditional mammography.
- Breast Ultrasound: Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images of breast tissue. Breast ultrasounds are generally performed to identify the exact nature of a breast abnormality previously detected by mammography or as supplemental breast cancer screening for high-risk patients. Breastlink of Orange and Breastlink of Temecula Valley feature automated breast ultrasound technology.
- Breast MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and radiofrequency pulses to produce detailed images of internal body structures. Breast MRI can provide information not available from mammography or ultrasound, but is only used in combination with and never as a replacement for these breast imaging procedures.
Radiologists’ Role in Breast Cancer Prevention & Treatment
Radiologists with breast imaging fellowship training lead all of our breast imaging departments to ensure you receive an experienced interpretation of your mammogram study. Additionally, all of our centers are accredited and certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in accordance with the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA).
As of April 1, 2013 the state of California requires imaging centers to inform patients if they have dense breast tissue as identified by a radiologist after interpreting their screening mammography study. Imaging centers are also required to inform women, classified as having dense breast tissue on a screening mammography study, that dense breast tissue may make it more difficult to detect potentially cancerous lesions in their screening mammography study. For more information on dense breasts, please visit our press release section.
Want to Learn More About Breast Imaging?
Our centers have state-of–the-art digital mammography equipment and an unmatched team of breast radiologists and technologists to ensure you benefit from the best screening available. Talk with your doctor about the frequency of screening appropriate for you.
If you are concerned with coverage, based on your age, check with your health insurance provider. Contact us online and we will get back to you within 1 business day to schedule your appointment.
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