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Breast Health Center

Breast health is important for all women, and Independence Health System is here to support and guide you every step of the way.

We offer a variety of services with personal and professional care, combined with advanced technology, to provide the highest quality experience for every patient. Whether it involves a simple screening mammogram, diagnostic procedure, or treatment upon a diagnosis, our trained radiologists, surgeons, nurses, nurse navigators, and staff at the Breast Health Center are dedicated to providing expert care to all of our patients.

To schedule your mammogram in the Butler/Clarion Area, call 833-602-2273.

For the Westmoreland Area, call 724-689-0100.

SmartCurve™ System

The SmartCurve™ system provides a curved compression surface that offers a more comfortable patient experience without compromising image quality, exam time, dose, or workflow. Clinically proven to deliver a more comfortable mammogram, the SmartCurve system improves comfort in 93% of patients who reported moderate to severe discomfort with standard compression. Additionally, 95% of patients surveyed would recommend facilities that use a SmartCurve system. The curved design of the compression device mirrors the shape of a woman’s breast to reduce pinching and applies uniform compression over the entire breast for added comfort. When scheduling your mammogram, ask if your location has the Smart Curve system.

Our mammography screening sites are certified as “Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence,” as a result of exceeding the highest quality and safety standards set by American College of Radiology.

Preventative Care

Our screening centers provide a range of services, including nearly 40,000 mammograms performed annually to detect early signs of breast cancer. At the age of 40, women with no known breast problems should get a 3D screening mammogram to perform a general check of the breast tissue. Along with the screening, we conduct the Tyrer-Cuzick risk assessment to provide a comprehensive look at the individual’s risk of developing breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. The results of this risk assessment will be shared with your physician and can help determine whether additional testing or genetic counseling is needed. With life expectancy increasing and individual health status improving, the guidelines have also changed to recommend lifelong annual mammography screening. If any abnormalities are detected in the screening mammogram, a patient may be called back for a diagnostic mammogram or other exploratory procedures.

Walk-in Wednesday

Walk-in Wednesday is the easiest way to get a mammogram with no appointment or doctor’s order required! For the most up-to-date information on locations and times, visit: Walk-In Wednesday.

Before Scheduling Your Mammogram

The Society of Breast Imaging has recently published considerations for patients and providers regarding the scheduling of screening mammography. It has been found that the COVID vaccination may cause reactive axillary adenopathy or enlarged lymph nodes.

When possible, and when it does not unduly delay care, it is recommended that patients schedule annual screening mammography prior to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or 4-6 weeks following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Additional Breast Diagnostic Services

While screening mammograms serve as the first line of detection, Independence Health System provides a host of other diagnostic testing.

3D mammography (Digital Breast Tomosynthesis)

3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis) is similar to a standard mammogram in that it uses X-ray technology and applies the same amount of pressure to the breast. But rather than providing two views—from top to bottom and side to side—the 3-D approach captures multiple views from a variety of angles in seconds. These multiple images of breast tissue slices give doctors a clearer image of breast masses, making it easier to detect breast cancer.

ABUS (Automated Breast Ultrasound)

ABUS breast cancer screening is specifically developed to help doctors find cancers hidden in dense breast tissue, which may be missed by mammography. If you have dense breast tissue, like 40% of women in the U.S., the addition of ABUS (Automated Breast Ultrasound) screening can increase the detection of cancers.

Breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Breast MRI uses radio waves and strong magnets to make detailed pictures of the inside of the breast. Breast MRI is used in breast cancer screening for women at higher than average risk. It can also be used in breast cancer diagnosis and staging.

Breast Ultrasound

The ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the breast. A breast ultrasound may be performed if a suspicious lump is discovered in your breast. An ultrasound helps your doctor determine whether the lump is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid tumor. It also allows for the determination of the location and size of the lump.

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic breast biopsies use mammographic X-rays to locate and target the area of concern and to help guide the biopsy needle to a precise location. This technique helps ensure that the area that is biopsied is the exact area where abnormality was seen on the mammogram. It is called stereotactic because it utilizes two images taken from slightly different angles of the same location. After the sample is collected it is sent to pathology to determine if cancer cells are present.

Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsies

Ultrasound imaging is used to help guide the radiologist’s instruments to the site of abnormal growth. Small samples of tissue are removed from the breast using a hollow needle and sent to pathology to determine if cancer cells are present.

MRI-Guided Breast Biopsies

MRI guided breast biopsies use MRI technology to locate and target the area of concern to remove small samples of tissue from the breast that are sent to pathology to determine if cancer cells are present.

Ductography (Galactography)

This test uses an injection of contrast material to create pictures of the inside of the breast’s milk ducts.

Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

Every woman carries some risk of developing breast cancer during her life. It is known that inherited mutations in certain genes raise the risk of a woman developing breast cancer, and IHS can help to identify this genetic risk in the BRCA genes.

You can learn more through a simple oral rinse DNA study, available during consultation with our breast surgeons. The test assesses overall breast cancer risk in women even if they have no family history. This information can be useful for women trying to decide when to begin and how often to go for a screening mammogram.

The advantage of knowing you’re at high risk for developing breast cancer is that it opens the door to options for disease prevention and early treatment intervention.

Any woman concerned about her breast cancer risk should follow up with her primary care physician or OB/GYN to discuss genetic testing options.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Being diagnosed with a breast problem can be overwhelming enough without the added stress of making your way through the healthcare decision-making process. We understand that stress and are here to help. Our Nurse Navigators are experienced nurses who are trained to support you throughout your treatment.

Along with offering professional guidance and knowledge, the Nurse Navigator is your designated professional guide who acts as your healthcare advocate. The navigator is not only a nurse, but a personal support system and point of contact for your care.

They provide services including:

  • Communication with physicians and various community resources
  • Referral coordination for additional appointments and procedures
  • Emotional support, providing information and education to patients and their family

Commitment to Improving the Experience

Should you need surgery, IHS has worked to make the day of breast surgery easier, more comfortable, and safer for our patients. Magnetic seed localization is an improved alternative to the challenging wire localization method previously used to identify breast tumors. Prior to the magnetic seeds, patients had to report to radiology to have a wire inserted the day of surgery to help the surgeon identify small lesions or tumors. Now, patients can have a small, radiation-free seed placed into the tumor days ahead of time, making the day of surgery much less stressful. Magnetic seeds also provide an alternative to radioactive seed localization.

After Surgery

Our specialists at IHS recognize that surgical procedures for breast cancer place stress on the body and can lead to problems with the lymph nodes. Our experienced lymphedema specialists can assist with these nodes and swelling in an outpatient rehabilitative setting by providing techniques to relieve post-surgery swelling.

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