You know why having regular mammograms matters. When breast cancer is caught before it spreads, the five-year breast cancer survival rate is 99 percent or greater. Sutter Health invests in the latest advanced imaging technology so we can detect breast tumors at the earliest possible stage and provide you and your healthcare team with the most complete information after a cancer diagnosis.
Our dedication translates to exemplary care: The American College of Radiology designated four Sutter sites as Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence.
Sutter Health breast centers use digital mammography exclusively. Compared with traditional mammography, digital uses less radiation, takes half the time to perform and provides crisp, clear results within seconds. Digital mammography also offers better visibility through dense breast tissue and near the skin line and chest wall.
Your Sutter Health network doctors and technicians also can combine results from different technologies, an approach called image fusing, to get a more complete picture of a breast tumor’s structure, location and characteristics—possibly providing information on cause, severity or treatment approaches without the need for surgery.
We offer advanced imaging tools including:
- 3-D Mammography (Digital Breast Tomosynthesis or DBT) — An important technology offered at many Sutter breast centers, this machinery reconstructs the breast images in a similar manner to a CT scan to create a highly detailed, 3-D composite picture of the breast. This is particularly helpful if you have dense breast tissue, which sometimes makes it harder to detect tumors, or if you’re at high risk for breast cancer.
- Breast Ultrasound — A painless and radiation-free sound wave procedure, this test determines whether a breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst (a cyst is usually less worrisome). We feature high-resolution ultrasound machines equipped with 3-D views and color imaging. In some cases, dedicated breast radiologists perform ultrasound-guided breast biopsies.
- Breast MRI Scan — Involves injecting a medication into your bloodstream that helps observe the extent of breast cancer after diagnosis, plus any treatment response. Your doctor also may recommend MRI as part of a surveillance program if you’re at high risk for breast cancer or to figure out whether a cancer has infiltrated muscles or lymph nodes. Sutter care centers have wide-bore, shorter-tunnel (less claustrophobic) MRI units that allow to customize your MRI experience with music, pictures or video from an iPod or tablet.
- PET Scan — An imaging test that uses special cameras that pick up an injected radioactive tracer as it moves through your organs and tissues. Often combined with a CT scan, PET can help your doctor see if and where cancer has spread or how your body is responding to treatment. Another imaging technique that is similar to a PET is the positron emission mammography (PEM), this uses a radioactive tracer to better detect small cancer clusters.
- CT Scan — A scan that uses X-rays to take pictures of multiple cross-section “slices” of the body, creating three-dimensional images. In the Sutter Health network, we use the latest 128-slice CT Scanner, which scans the whole body in seconds and provides incredibly sharp 3-D images. The 128-slice scanner also uses Adaptive Statistical Iterative Reconstruction (ASiR), a technology that changes the dose paradigm across your anatomy, reducing radiation dosage by up to 40 percent while maintaining image quality.
- Digital Stereotactic Breast Biopsy — A less invasive option than surgical biopsy, this technology employs a computerized mammography machine to pinpoint the area of tissue change within your breast, facilitating tissue removal for examination.
- Ductography (galactography) — A procedure that uses a contrast material injected into a milk duct before a mammogram, allowing your radiologist to see details that may be causing nipple discharge or other abnormalities.
- Positron Emission Mammography (PEM) — A new technique approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, this scan uses a radioactive tracer to better detect small cancer clusters.
We’re committed to a team approach for diagnosing and treating breast cancer. To that end, the Sutter Health network uses an image archive and communication tool that allows all of the doctors on your care team to view your images when and where they need them.