Every year in the U.S., more than 230,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. It is the second most common cause of death among women, claiming the lives of more than 40,000 women each year.
The Women’s Diagnostic Center at Cullman Regional was designed with a woman’s unique need in mind. Through modern technology and procedures, we offer patients the best chance for early detection of breast cancer. Digital mammography provides numerous advantages, including excellent visibility of the breast, fast image generation, image magnification and manipulation to avoid retakes, and less discomfort during compression.
Our recent facility makeover created new amenities for patients, including spa-like robes, a hot beverage station and registration and scheduling in the Women’s Center. Our highly-trained staff is certified to perform the following services and procedures:
Automated Breast Ultrasound
An ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within the body. The new ABUS (Automated Breast Ultrasound System) has been clinically proven to increase breast cancer detection by up to 35.7 percent. The ABUS is approved by the FDA for breast cancer screening in addition to mammography for asymptomatic women with dense breast tissue and no prior interventions.
An ultrasound is a non-radiation imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within the body. An ultrasound is commonly used to examine the abdominal and pelvic organs, breasts, joints, thyroid gland, blood flow in the arteries and veins, fetal development and to diagnose gynecological problems
Measures bone density and compares a patient’s bone quality to that of a “young adult” at peak bone strength to determine a person’s risk for fracture and can indicate osteoporosis.
Digital Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) Mammography
Cullman Regional’s Women’s Diagnostic Center offers comprehensive breast imaging and health education services specifically designed to meet the unique needs of women of all ages. Whether you are receiving a screening mammogram or a diagnostic mammogram to pinpoint a problem, rest assured that you will receive the highest quality of care from our registered mammographers.
Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
Cullman Regional Medical Center’s Women’s Diagnostic Center now offers women faced with a suspicious mammogram or small breast lump a less invasive, outpatient breast biopsy option. The procedure is done with the Mammotome® Breast Biopsy System, a minimally invasive breast biopsy device that allows biopsy of suspicious tissue through a tiny incision in less than an hour with a quick recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
How helpful are mammograms in breast cancer detection?
Early detection in breast cancer is possible thanks to modern technologies and procedures. And early detection saves lives. Breast self-exams and annual exams with your physician are important elements of this process, but they are not enough. Mammography is capable of detecting cancer in its early stages, before it can be felt. Through early detection, it is possible that the cancer can be removed before it spreads.
How often do I need a mammogram?
The American Cancer Society recommends your first baseline mammogram between the ages of 35 and 40, even if you have no symptoms. A significant number of breast cancers occur in women around this age. When women reach age 40, the American Cancer Society recommends a mammogram every year for as long as you are in good health.
Are mammograms painful?
Because the x-ray machine compresses the breast, you may experience brief discomfort. Proper compression is essential to high-quality images.
How long will it take to get the results?
Our radiologists read your results on site and provide your physician with a report within 24 hours of your mammogram.
How do I get a mammogram?
See your physician and request a referral to Cullman Regional’s Women’s Diagnostic Center. Appointments are made by physician referral only. If you do not have a physician, contact Cullman Regional’s Physician Referral Service at (256) 737-2588 or through our online Physician Referral Center.
What are the benefits of digital computer-aided detection (CAD) mammography?
- CAD enhances the digital mammography system to make it an even more powerful weapon in the war against breast cancer.
- It acts as a second set of eyes to support and enhance the radiologist’s judgment.
- Studies have shown that CAD can detect up to 19.5% more breast cancers.
- It may reduce the incidence of false negatives.
- It further reduces repeat exams.
- Studies indicate that using the CAD on the Seno 2000D marked 92% of microcalcifications.
How is a stereotactic breast biopsy performed?
You are in a sitting or lying position while the radiologist places a probe through a small incision, about the size of a match head. Using ultrasound or x-ray guidance, the doctor can accurately pinpoint the suspicious tissue and gently vacuum, cut and remove this tissue for further examination. Only a small adhesive bandage is required to cover the incision. The procedure typically takes less than an hour, and women can return to normal activity soon after the biopsy.
How do I know if can have the stereotactic biopsy versus surgical biopsy?
Consult with your doctor to see which type of breast biopsy procedure is appropriate for you. Breast biopsies that typically qualify for this procedure include:
- A suspicious solid mass
- Microcalcifications – tiny clusters of small calcium deposits
- A distortion in the structure of breast tissue
- An area of abnormal tissue change
- A new mass or area of calcium deposits at a previous surgery site
Breast biopsies that do not typically qualify include:
- Lesions accompanied by diffuse calcium deposits scattered throughout the breast
- Lesions near the chest wall or skin
- If your mammogram shows a vague change in tissue density but no definite mass or nodule
What services are available if breast cancer is detected?
Nurse navigation services are available for anyone in our community affected by breast, lung, colon or prostate cancer. This multidisciplinary program educates and supports the patient and your family during your treatment journey and improves outcomes through education, support and monitoring. A dedicated nurse navigator helps you every step of the way during your battle with cancer — from scheduling doctor visits to providing a listening ear.
Are there support programs for women who have/have had breast cancer?
Bosom Buddies Support Group offers support to those affected by breast cancer. The group typically meets on the third Thursday of each month (except May) at 6 p.m. in the Ave Maria Room in Cullman Regional’s Community Education Center, Professional Office Building II. Contact the program coordinator at (256) 734-8729 for more information.
Why should I have my mammogram at an accredited facility?
When you see an accreditation gold seal prominently displayed, you can be sure that this facility meets high standards for imaging quality and radiation safety. Look for the American College of Radiology (ACR) Gold Seals of Accreditation.
To achieve accreditation, our mammography staff qualifications, equipment, quality assurance and quality control policies and procedures have undergone a rigorous review process and have met specific requirements. Board-certified radiologists and medical physicists specializing in advanced diagnostic imaging oversee every aspect of ACR accreditation. The American College of Radiology is the largest and oldest imaging accreditation body in the U.S. with a professional membership of 34,000 physicians.
What does ACR accreditation for mammography mean?
- Our facility has voluntarily undergone a vigorous review process to ensure that we meet nationally-accepted standards of care.
- Our staff members are highly qualified, through education and certification, to perform medical imaging and interpret your images.
- Our equipment is appropriate for the test or treatment you need, and our facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines.
How do I learn more?
We offer speakers for a variety of groups, clubs and civic organizations. Our patient education room contains both literature and videos. Our staff is happy to provide patients and family members with additional information and educational resources. Contact the Women’s Diagnostic Center today at (256) 737-2270.