The BAC has offered digital technology since 2010, and our fully digital mammography system provides a safe, low-dose X-ray procedure to detect abnormalities in breast tissue, typically years before they can be felt by a patient, nurse practitioner, or physician. The procedure usually lasts 15 minutes.
There are two kinds of mammograms: screening and diagnostic.
A screening mammogram is used for asymptomatic women to screen for breast cancer.
- This type of mammogram consists of two views of each breast.
- Women under age 50: Routine breast screening mammography for women under age 50 requires a referral from a physician or nurse practitioner.
- Women age 50 and over: HPHA's BAC is an affiliate site of the OBSP, offering routine screening mammography to women age 50 and over. Women with or without a family physician can be screened through the OBSP, can book their own appointments, and are reminded by letter when they are due for their next screen.
- Please note if you are a woman age 50-74 a physician's referral is not required for the OBSP. Women 75 and older can continue to participate in the OBSP, however a referral from a physician or nurse practitioner is required.
A diagnostic mammogram is used to evaluate men and women with an existing symptom or abnormal clinical finding—such as a breast lump, pain or nipple discharge—that has been found by the patient or their physician/nurse practitioner.
- It consists of two views of each breast, as well as additional magnification or compression views and breast ultrasound.
- Diagnostic mammography may also be performed after an abnormal screening mammogram in order to evaluate the area of concern noted on the exam.
Following screening mammography, about 10% of women will be recalled for additional views and/or breast ultrasound to obtain a more detailed evaluation of the breast tissues.
This should not cause undue worry as more than 9 out of 10 patients that get recalled for these additional tests are subsequently proven to have benign results.
Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to image the breast. Diagnostic breast ultrasound is used to determine whether a lump in the breast is solid or a fluid-filled cyst found on the mammogram or palpated by the patient or their health care provider, and to help clarify and diagnose abnormalities seen on mammography.
Our radiologists can perform biopsies guided by mammography (“stereotactic biopsy”) or ultrasound. These procedures are used to diagnose both benign and malignant diseases of the breast.
Stereotactic breast biopsy or ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is often performed if an abnormality is still seen after diagnostic testing is completed.
Patient Information Sheets
If surgery is required, our breast surgeons are here to guide patients through the decision-making process for surgical treatment.
A wire localization is a form of surgery that is used for diagnosis if a breast biopsy is not possible. It is also performed when the results of a breast biopsy are positive for cancer, or if surgical removal of a breast lesion is recommended.
Patient Information Sheet
- Do not wear deodorant, lotions or powders under your arms or on your breasts on the day of your examination, as these can create artifacts on the mammogram images.
- If you do not speak English, please arrange to have a translator present.