Breast Procedures Defined

Breast cancer can be successfully treated, especially if it’s caught early. Early detection, including regular screening mammograms, can save your life.

Our recommendations on breast cancer screening mammograms

We agree with and support the American Cancer Society screening mammography guidelines to help detect breast cancer as early as possible. The ACS guideline states that every woman, starting at age 40 and as long as she is in good health, have an annual screening mammogram.

Recommended screening mammograms, based on the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology, current guidelines: Women 20 years and older are recommended to follow a two-fold approach to detect breast cancer early:

  • Annual clinical breast exams by a health care provider
  • Monthly breast self-exams

Women 40 years and older are recommended to use a three-fold approach to detect breast cancer early:

  • Annual screening mammograms
  • Annual clinical breast exams by a health care provider
  • Monthly breast self-exams

Breast cancer screening mammograms

Mammography is performed to screen women to detect early breast cancer when it is more likely to be treated and cured. A screening mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Screening mammograms are used to look for breast cancer in women before changes in the breast are seen or felt. While screening mammograms don't prevent breast cancer, they may help find cancer early before it spreads to other parts of the body.

Breast self-examination

A breast self exam is when a woman examines her own breasts for changes or problems. Many women feel that doing this is important to their health and we recommend this practice. Regular self exams can help you learn how your breasts feel normally, so you will recognize a new or unusual lump, skin changes or nipple discharge. If one of these does appear you should see your health care provider for further examination. The American Cancer Society states that breast self-exam is an option for women starting in their 20s.

Clinical breast examination

A clinical breast exam is performed by your health care provider, often as part of your annual check-up appointment. We recommend that you request regular clinical breast exams from your health care provider. The American Cancer Society recommends that women over 40 have a clinical breast exam every year.

Notes about risk factors

All women are at risk for breast cancer. The following list indicates items that put patients at higher risk:

  • Personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • An abnormal breast biopsy
  • Radiation therapy to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30
  • A family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Three or more relatives with breast cancer (mother, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother)

Mammography screening locations

Franciscan Breast Center at St. Francis
St. Francis Medical Pavilion
34503 Ninth Avenue South, Suite 320
Federal Way, WA 98003

Carol Milgard Breast Center
4525 South 19th Street
Tacoma, WA 98405
253-759-2622 or 1-866-758-2622 (toll-free)

The Mammography Clinic at St. Anthony Hospital
Milgard Medical Pavilion
11511 Canterwood Boulevard Northwest
Gig Harbor, WA 98332

St. Elizabeth Hospital Diagnostic Imaging
1455 Battersby Avenue
Enumclaw, WA 98022

Highline Diagnostics at 160th
275 160th Street Southwest
Burien, WA 98166

Need a doctor?

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