At Sharp, we are proud to be a leading provider of women's care in San Diego, offering state-of-the-art technology and a gentle, supportive environment for your annual mammography screening. Our expert staff puts you first — ensuring your comfort — whether you are having a routine breast exam or a biopsy.
We know that every moment matters, and that means involving our patients in their care and never losing sight of what's important to them. That's why more San Diegans trust the Cancer Centers of Sharp HealthCare for extraordinary care.
Access to the most advanced screenings.
Here, you're not just a patient, you're our partner. Beginning at age 40, we encourage you to have a conversation with your doctor about routine breast screening — when it should begin and what type of screening is best for you.
Our advanced diagnostic tests provide earlier detection of tumors and abnormalities — so that you can be one step ahead when it comes to your health. Our highly skilled team of experts is here to focus on what you need — every step of the way.
At Sharp, we utilize digital mammography to produce highly precise, rapid scans that can be displayed on a high-resolution computer monitor and stored digitally.
Tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, is offered at Sharp Coronado Women's Imaging Suite, Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion Imaging Center and Grossmont Imaging, a partnership of X-Ray Medical Group and Sharp Grossmont Hospital. This screening allows doctors to detect breast cancer earlier by uncovering breast abnormalities unseen in traditional mammograms. This technology uses high-powered computing to generate a 3D reconstruction of the breast, providing clearer, more accurate views of breast tissue.
High-risk monitoring is also available at Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion Imaging Center. When receiving a mammogram, you can learn if your lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is greater than 20 percent — the threshold at which the American Cancer Society recommends extra monitoring and other prevention strategies.
The process is simple. At the time of your mammogram, will answer a series of questions about your personal and family histories. Then a sophisticated computer program will calculate your unique breast cancer risk and send it to your doctor.
Frequently asked questions about mammograms.
What should I expect during my 2D/3D mammography exam?
The technologist will position you, compress your breast and take images from different angles. There is no additional compression required with 3D, and it only takes a few extra seconds. The technologist will work with you to ensure a comfortable mammography experience and to help eliminate any apprehension you may have about your mammogram being uncomfortable or painful.
Who can have a 3D tomosynthesis mammography exam?
Studies show that the 3D tomosynthesis exam is more accurate for women of all ages, with both dense and nondense breasts — and is the only mammogram approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as superior for women with dense breasts.
What about radiation?
The 3D tomosynthesis exam is comparable to conventional 2D mammograms when using low-dose software.
How does the 3D tomosynthesis mammography work?
The 3D tomosynthesis exam allows doctors to examine your breast tissue layer by layer. So, instead of viewing all of the complexities of your breast tissue in a flat image, as with conventional 2D mammography, fine details are more visible and not hidden by tissue.
What if I need a biopsy?
Overall, about 70 percent of biopsies are benign. The rate of breast cancer diagnosis on biopsy is about 30 percent. When findings are suspicious enough for breast cancer to warrant a biopsy, otherwise known as "biopsy recommended" on a report, only 30 percent result in a breast cancer diagnosis.
What are the different types of biopsies?
Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy
In an FNA biopsy, a very thin, hollow needle attached to a syringe is used to withdraw (aspirate) a small amount of tissue from a suspicious area. The needle used for an FNA biopsy is thinner than the one used for blood tests.
Core needle biopsy
A core biopsy uses a larger needle to sample breast changes felt by the doctor or seen on an ultrasound, mammogram or MRI.
The stereotactic-guided biopsy searches out the precise location of the abnormal area by using conventional mammography from three angles. It uses "stereo" X-rays (X-rays taken from multiple angles) and a special biopsy needle. A stereotactic breast biopsy is the most helpful when no lump can be felt but a mammography shows a mass, a cluster of microcalcifications (tiny calcium deposits that are closely grouped together) or an area of abnormal tissue change.
Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy
A biopsy performed using ultrasound to locate the area in question. Ultrasound-guided biopsy requires no exposure to X-ray, and is a minimally invasive way to obtain a sample of breast tissue for further diagnosis. It is also faster and less painful than traditional surgical biopsy.
Surgical (open) biopsy
In rare cases, surgery is needed to remove all or part of the lump for testing. This is called a surgical or open biopsy. Most often, the surgeon removes the entire mass or abnormal area, as well as a surrounding margin of normal breast tissue.
There are two types of surgical biopsies:
- An incisional biopsy removes only part of the suspicious area, enough to make a diagnosis
- An excisional biopsy removes the entire tumor or abnormal area, with or without trying to take out an edge of normal breast tissue (depending on the reason for the biopsy)
Scheduling your mammogram.
We want to make it as easy as possible for you to make your appointment, which is why several Sharp locations offer annual mammogram screenings. To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-82-SHARP ( 1-800-827-4277) or select one of the locations listed below.
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