Having regular mammograms matter. According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is caught early before it spreads, the five-year breast cancer survival rate is 99 percent or greater.*
Sutter Health invests in the latest advanced imaging technology, using exclusively digital 3D mammograms to detect breast tumors at the earliest possible stage. Four Sutter sites are designated Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.
Compared with traditional mammography, digital 2D and 3D mammograms use less radiation, take half the time to perform, and provide crisp, clear results within seconds. 2D and 3D mammography also offer better visibility through dense breast tissue and near the skin line and chest wall.
If screening finds a tumor, your Sutter Health network doctors and technicians can combine results from different technologies. This approach is called image fusing and gives a more complete picture of a breast tumor’s structure, location and characteristics. It can also possibly provide information on cause, severity or treatment approaches without the need for surgery.
Our advanced imaging tools include:
- 3-D Mammography (Digital Breast Tomosynthesis or DBT) — An important technology offered at many Sutter breast centers, 3D mammograms reconstruct the breast images in a similar manner to a CT scan to create a highly detailed, 3D 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, a breast ultrasound 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 3D views and color imaging. In some cases, dedicated breast radiologists perform ultrasound-guided breast biopsies.
- Breast MRI Scan — Breast MRIs Involve 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 your care team to customize your MRI experience with music, pictures or video from an iPod or tablet.
- PET Scan — PET scans are imaging tests that use 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.
- CT Scan — CT scans use 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 3D 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 — Digital breast biopsies are less invasive than traditional surgical biopsies. The technology uses a computerized mammography machine to pinpoint the area of tissue change within your breast, allowing less tissue to be removed for examination.
- Ductography (galactography) — Ductography is a procedure that uses a contrast material injected into a milk duct before a mammogram so your radiologist can see details that may be causing nipple discharge or other abnormalities.
- Positron Emission Mammography (PEM) — PEM is a new technique approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that uses a radioactive tracer to better detect small cancer clusters.
* Source: American Cancer Society