Mammography is a specific type of breast imaging that uses low-dose x-rays to detect cancer early, when it is most treatable. Mammography is the only screening tool for breast cancer that is known to reduce deaths due to breast cancer through early detection. Changes in the breast may show up on a mammogram up to two years before you or your physician can feel them, making mammography essential in the early detection of breast cancer.
Yearly screening with mammography is recommended for women over the age of 40.
Partners Imaging Women’s Centers offers digital screening mammography in Sarasota and Bradenton, read by our breast imaging specialist. Our Sarasota center offers low dose 3D Tomo mammography screening. All Partners centers utilize Hologic mammograpy modalities and technology.
Screening mammography is covered by most insurance companies and many do not require a co-pay. A doctor’s prescription is not necessary.
If you are unsure, you should talk to your physician about whether adding screening MRI is appropriate for you.
While mammography remains the starting point for all breast diagnostics, some women feel they cannot tolerate the compression needed for a mammogram. For those women, screening with breast MRI is an option. Breast MRI is also beneficial for women who have implants, to evaluate the integrity of the implants and to evaluate areas of the breast that may be obscured on mammography. Breast MRI also plays a role in evaluating women who have very dense breasts on mammography, detecting more cancers when used in conjunction with mammography and breast ultrasound.
Breast MRI screening is provided at Partners Imaging Women’s Centers using a Siemens 1.5T wide bore MRI at Bradenton and a 3T Siemens MRI at Sarasota. Both MRI’s provide high resolution images covering both breasts, lymph nodes and the chest area in one scan. Partners uses high resolution breast coils specifically for women. Breast MRI uses no radiation; an injection of a small amount of gadolinium based contrast agent is given.
Breast MRI screening is not covered by insurance companies (MRI diagnostics generally is), however, Partners Imaging Women’s Centers offers a low self-pay rate for the scan which is designed to help patients with no insurance or high deductibles. Note, this is not a diagnostic MRI but just a screening MRI. You may simply call us at (941) 951-2100 or (941) 782-0414 to book yourself in.
Ultrasound is safe and painless and uses no radiation. Images of the breast are produced using high-frequency sound waves transmitted and received by a probe placed on the breast.
Many studies have shown that ultrasound and MRI can help supplement mammography by detecting breast cancers that may not be visible with mammography alone. MRI is more sensitive than ultrasound in depicting breast cancer, but MRI may be contraindicated in some women (such as women who have pacemakers).
Those women who are at high risk but cannot undergo MRI may benefit from screening ultrasound, in conjunction with mammography. If screening MRI is performed, then screening ultrasound is generally not needed, though ultrasound is often used to characterize and biopsy abnormalities seen on MRI.
Breast ultrasound for screening and diagnostics is offered at Partners Imaging Women’s Center. You may simply call us at (941) 757-1044 to schedule your appointment.
You will need a doctor’s prescription for a breast MRI or ultrasound.