Diagnosis and Services

Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Services


For most women, mammography provides the best way to find breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment is usually the most successful. Younger women with a personal or family history of breast cancer may also be candidates for a mammogram.

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of your breasts that can detect many changes that are too small or too deep to feel. Mammograms are considered safe, quick, and relatively painless.

These images may be viewed by the radiologist at a work station along with the application of computer-aided detection (CAD). 

Benefits and Uses of Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging is a technique using high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the breasts and other tissues and organs. This procedure involves no radiation; it is painless and non-invasive. Ultrasound, also known as ultrasonography, does not replace mammograms. Instead, it provides a supplementary tool for detecting and diagnosing breast cancer.

The physician or technologist spreads a lubricating gel on the area being examined, and then presses the transducer firmly against the skin to obtain images. The image is immediately visible on the computer screen in the room. The physician or technologist watches the screen during the examination. Often, the patient is able to see the screen and watch movement as well. Images of the examination are recorded and stored digitally.

Ultrasound is used in conjunction with mammography for clarification of inconclusive or abnormal findings.

Stereotactic Biopsy

Your physician may recommend that an area of your breast be biopsied in order to obtain further information following a mammogram. This can be accomplished through a technique known as stereotactic core biopsy.

During a stereotactic core biopsy, small samples of tissue are removed from the breast using a hollow needle. The needle is precisely guided to the correct location using x-rays and computer coordinates.

Ultrasound-Guided Biopsy

Ultrasound-guided biopsy is a highly accurate way to obtain tissue samples from suspicious areas within the breast. This type of tissue sampling does not require surgery. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves, not radiation, to pinpoint the area suggested for biopsy. Tissue samples are then withdrawn through a hollow needle.

An ultrasound-guided biopsy can be performed when an area of abnormal tissue change is noted or suspicious solid mass is seen on ultrasound. This procedure is very useful when suspicious areas cannot be seen as well on the mammogram.

Magnetic Resonance Breast Imaging (MRI) Breast Biopsy

Your physician may recommend a Magnetic Resonance Breast Imaging (MRI biopsy of an abnormality found in your breast.) MRI locates the abnormality by creating images using a large, powerful magnet instead of x-ray.

Breast Health Navigator

As a special service to our breast health patients, Spectrum Health Navigator offers the assistance of a trained registered nurse to serve as your educator and advocate. Lakeland is dedicated to helping you and your family during your diagnostic work up, treatment and/or recovery.

Our Breast Health Manager, Shelley Wilkinson, RN, will serve as guardian of your care and ensure that you receive the support and knowledge you need to successfully navigate through the health care system.

As your breast health coordinator, Shelley looks forward to being a part of your health care team. Please feel free to call Shelley at any time with any concerns or questions.

What does a breast health manager do?

  • Educates you on breast health issues
  • Explains procedures
  • Enhances your breast health care experience
  • Assists women with navigation through our health care system when a breast cancer diagnosis is made
  • Helps you understand breast cancer treatment modalities, including preparing for surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy
  • Ensures that follow-up care efforts are made
  • Helps you with appropriate social services
  • Helps you locate local breast cancer support

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