Mammograms and Breast Screenings
Getting accurate breast screening and diagnostic imaging services is a key component to correctly identifying and treating breast cancer. Saint Vincent Hospital offers a comprehensive array of breast imaging services with skilled radiologists.
Mammograms. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that allows us to detect a breast tumor or other abnormality before it can be felt. Mammograms are an important part of breast health, as they allow us to detect breast cancers at a smaller size, when it’s most treatable, often saving lives. During a mammogram, a radiology technician takes an X-ray of each breast twice: one view is top to bottom, the other is from side to side, which is a traditional 2D screening mammogram. These X-rays are taken by compressing the breast between two plates, which may be temporarily uncomfortable. On the day of your mammogram, we ask that you don’t use deodorants, lotions or powders before coming, as these products can disrupt the images.
3-D Mammography. Also known as breast tomosynthesis, this technology is an advancement in breast imaging. Much like traditional 2D mammography, images are taken using breast compression, but instead of just two images, the machine takes multiple images of the breast in thin slices. Data suggest that these detailed images may improve the detection of small cancers in dense breasts. 3-D mammography does take a few seconds longer for the additional images, providing a slightly increased radiation exposure. This dose of radiation is thought to be safe and remains under federal standards for mammography.
Ultrasounds. Usually ordered after a lump has already been identified, an ultrasound helps us to determine if the lump is a solid mass or fluid-filled, as most lumps aren’t cancerous. Ultrasound doesn’t use radiation to create an image, but rather sound waves. Based on the results of your ultrasound, we may recommend you undergo a breast biopsy.
Breast MRIs. A breast MRI is used to screen those with a high breast cancer risk or as a diagnostic tool after an abnormality is identified. During an MRI, you’ll be asked to lie on your stomach with your breast through two holes in the table. You’ll have an IV placed into your hand or arm. A dye called gadolinium will be provided through the IV, which allows us the capture images. Breast MRI uses magnetic fields to create these images, so it is important that you remove all metal from your body. Images usually take 45 to 60 minutes to be taken, so you should allow about 1.5 hours for your MRI. During this time, several dozen images may be taken. There are no eating or drinking restrictions prior to or after the test, but we do prefer to plan the scan around your menstrual cycle, with the ideal window between days 7 and 14 of your cycle.
Breast Imaging Locations
You can schedule an appointment for breast imaging or find answers to your questions by calling one of our locations below.
Cancer and Wellness Center
3D Mammogram available with same day reading by radiologist
1 Eaton Place
Worcester, MA 01608
Saint Vincent Hospital
Digital mammography and Ultrasound
123 Summer Street
Worcester, MA 01608
Saint Vincent Hospital Auburn
250 Hampton Street
Auburn, MA 01501
Take the Next Step in Your Journey
The Saint Vincent Hospital Breast Center is located in at One Eaton Place in downtown Worcester and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more about the services we offer, or to schedule an appointment, please call (866) 494-3627.