Breast Screening & Diagnostics | El Camino Hospital

Breast Screening & Diagnostics

Breast Screening & Diagnostics

El Camino Hospital's Breast Health Center performs more than 10,000 breast studies a year. It’s that experience that helps us deliver care you can trust.

Our specially trained, highly skilled team at the Breast Health Center uses the latest diagnostic equipment to give you high-quality breast screening and diagnostic services in a warm, comfortable atmosphere.


Breast Screening Services

Breast screening services available at the Breast Health Center at El Camino Hospital include:

  • Screening mammograms. We offer digital mammography technology — including tomosynthesis (3-D mammograms) — for screening mammograms, which provides a detailed electronic picture of your breast. Images are interpreted by a radiologist with specialized breast imaging training. Results are sent to your doctor electronically and by mail. Your results will be mailed to you within 10 business days. You may also choose to receive results by phone within one to two days.
  • Whole breast ultrasound. We use sophisticated whole breast screening ultrasound (ABUS™) technology, which scans all areas of the breast — El Camino Hospital is among the few hospitals in Northern California to offer this technology. Our diagnostic professionals use whole breast ultrasound to supplement routine mammography and help locate tiny tumors that may be hidden in dense tissue.

The experts at El Camino Hospital recommend women over 40 have a screening mammogram every year. These tests use low-dose X-ray of the breasts to detect cancer or other problems before a lump becomes large enough to be felt.


Diagnostic Services

If your mammogram shows breast abnormalities, your radiologist will likely order follow-up exams to confirm or rule out the possibility of breast cancer. El Camino Hospital offers a range of diagnostic services to detect abnormalities at the earliest stages.

Diagnostic Mammograms

Diagnostic mammograms — which can be conventional or tomosynthesis — are recommended for women who have a breast lump, nipple discharge, prior breast cancer or localized persistent breast pain unrelated to menstrual cycles.


Breast ultrasound exams use sound waves to evaluate abnormalities found with mammography. It differs from whole breast ultrasound in that a handheld device is used to examine just the areas in question.



If further evaluation is needed, your doctor may recommend a breast biopsy. During a biopsy, samples of breast tissue are removed and examined under a microscope to see if cancer or other abnormal cells are present. Types of breast biopsies include:

  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy – A small needle with a syringe is used to extract a small tissue sample. 
  • Core needle aspiration biopsy – Similar to a fine needle aspiration, except a slightly larger needle is used to remove multiple, larger tissue samples. In some cases, your doctor identifies exactly where to insert the needle using X-rays (stereotactic core needle biopsy) ultrasound (ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy) or MRI.
  • Open (surgical) biopsy – Requires an incision be made in the breast for tissue to be removed. There are two types of open biopsies: an incisional biopsy is used to remove a portion of the abnormal tissue, while an excisional biopsy is used to remove the entire abnormal area.

Talk to Someone

Inquire about services or get a physician referral. Our call-back and chat services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Schedule an Appointment

To make an appointment at either campus, call 650-940-7050.