El Camino Hospital's Breast Health Center, one of the largest breast screening centers in Northern California, offers a complete range of breast screening services. An FDA Certified Mammography Facility, the center performs more than 12,000 studies a year. With its experienced and highly skilled staff, specially trained radiologists and state-of- the-art diagnostic equipment, the Center offers patients high quality, comprehensive mammography services and superior customer service in a warm comfortable atmosphere.
We also offer our High-Risk Breast program that has been developed to help identify, track, and protect women who are at high risk for breast cancer. We take a comprehensive, personalized approach to the screening, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer in high-risk women.
Mammography is a low-dose x-ray of the breasts used to detect cancer or other problems before a lump becomes large enough to be felt. The National Cancer Institute recommends women over 40 have a screening mammogram every one to two years; the American Cancer Society recommends a mammogram for women over 40 every year.
The Center offers state-of-the art digital mammography equipment for screening mammograms. Digital mammography provides a detailed electronic picture of the breast and can detect early and highly curable cancers too small to be felt. With digital mammography, radiologists reading the studies can electronically manipulate the digital images, potentially saving patients from undergoing additional views and radiation. Mammography images are interpreted within a 24-hour period by a radiologist with specialized mammography training. Results are sent to you and your referring physician by mail within ten days.
Computer-aided Mammography Detection
Computer-aided detection (CAD) technology is a recent advance in the field of breast imaging. The CAD technology basically works like a second pair of eyes, reviewing a patient’s image after the radiologist has already made an initial interpretation. If the computer software detects any breast abnormalities or "regions of interest" on the image, it marks them. The radiologist can then go back and review the image to determine whether the marked areas are suspicious and require additional imaging or biopsy. With the CAD technology, the radiologist still makes the final interpretation of the mammogram.
If your mammogram shows an abnormal area or other changes in the breast, the radiologist will likely order a follow up diagnostic test to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of breast cancer. The Center offers a range of diagnostic tests including diagnostic mammograms, ultrasound, needle and surgical biopsies.
Diagnostic evaluations are recommended for women who have a dominant or new breast lump, clear or bloody nipple discharge, prior breast cancer, or localized persistent breast pain unrelated to menstrual cycles. A diagnostic mammogram evaluation is performed in one visit, including all imaging studies required for a complete diagnostic evaluation. The radiologist reviews your imaging studies and the results are given to you at the time of your visit.
A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to evaluate palpable lumps and to detect cysts and solid tumors not found by mammogram alone and may be performed at the time of a diagnostic mammogram evaluation if the radiologist determines that this test will add valuable information.
If your breast specialist recommends a biopsy for further evaluation, the Center offers the following procedures; your physician will determine which is most effective for your situation.
- Stereotactic core needle breast biopsy
- Ultrasound guided core needle biopsy
- Fine needle aspiration biopsy
These three approaches are performed in the outpatient setting using local anesthesia and do not require the traditional incision with stitches. Not all women are candidates for these procedures and your physician may recommend an open surgical biopsy.