3D Mammography

‘How’ and ‘how often’ matters

Did you know that sometimes it’s all right to actually put yourself and your needs first? In fact, in this case, it’s ‘doctor’s orders.’ While breast cancer is a frightening possibility for many women—modern technology has given us a powerful tool for early detection. So put down whatever you’re helping someone else with at the moment and make time for proper screenings.

When should you have a mammogram and how often?

The biggest question women typically have is: when should I begin screening for breast cancer and how often? We love this question because the best way to beat breast cancer is to detect it early—and proper screening can help us do just that. WHA follows the guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Cancer Society, which are in agreement. So, what does that actually mean?

  • Women should know how their breasts look and feel normally and should report any changes to their healthcare provider. Normal can be different from one woman to another. It’s important to have a conversation with your provider about what your “normal” breast tissue characteristics are.
  • Women should have a provider examine their breasts every two to three years beginning at age 20; annually beginning at age 40.
  • Women should have a mammogram to screen for breast cancer every one to two years beginning at age 40; annually beginning at age 50.
  • Women with a family history or other risk factors for breast cancer should consult with their provider to determine the screening modality and frequency that is right for them.

We will help assess your individual risk and provide screening recommendations to help you decide what is right for you. Women with higher risk histories may choose to start screening earlier and have it done more frequently. Others, such as younger women with low-risk histories, may choose less frequent screening. The choice is personal; we are always here to help you understand the best available science and decide what’s right for you.

Technology and expertise matter

WHA uses 3D mammography, also known as breast tomosynthesis, to capture the most detailed images possible. 3D mammography allows our radiologists to examine the breast tissue in layers, which is especially helpful for dense breast tissue. In studies, 3D mammography has been shown to increase the number of breast cancers detected and to decrease the number of call-backs for follow up mammography or breast ultrasound.

In addition to using the latest technology, WHA works with a team of local radiologists from Diagnostic Imaging Northwest who specialize in reading mammograms. Two separate radiologist with expertise in mammography independently evaluate each mammogram, comparing to past exams, when available, and helping you stay on top of your breast health.

What to expect

During mammography, a certified technologist will place your breast on a platform that is part of the mammography machine and then compress your breast with a paddle (sounds dreamy, right?). You will feel pressure; for most women it is only mildly uncomfortable. If you do have discomfort, just let the technologist know and she will use less pressure and/or fit the mammography unit with special pads designed to decrease discomfort. As a side note, you know what feels great after a self-care filled mammogram appointment? A massage at that place you love.

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Insurance

If you’re pregnant and want to begin care at WHA–or need to schedule an appointment during your pregnancy, call us! Find a provider and location here.

Please have your insurance information handy before you begin scheduling.

This will allow our teams to check whether your plan may require a referral for the care you need or to prepare benefits information to share with you at your visit. If you do not enter insurance information when scheduling, you may be asked to pay a $200-$500 deposit before receiving service.