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Phoenix VA Health Care System

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Radiology - Mammography

Logo - Breast Imaging Center of ExcellenceMammography Department 


The Phoenix VA is designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. Radiologists and physicists from the American College of Radiology have recognized our physicians, personnel and technology for meeting or exceeding their standards of excellence in quality and safety!

A mammogram is simply an X-ray picture of your breasts. Usually performed as a series, they are used to detect abnormalities such as minute calcium deposits or changes in breast tissue that may represent tumors.

Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year. This is because the earlier an abnormality is detected, the sooner it can be treated. The best chance to cure breast cancer is to detect it early before it spreads.  Annual mammograms are the best method available to identify subtle changes that may indicate an early cancer.

You may need a diagnostic mammogram if you or your doctor has detected signs or symptoms of cancer or other breast diseases including lumps, focal pain or nipple discharge. If you have noticed any breast symptoms which concern you, please discuss them with your doctor. Other candidates for a mammogram include women at high risk due to a family history of breast cancer. Such a history may require starting regular screenings at an earlier age.

To know whether you need a mammogram, the wisest course of action is to talk to your doctor about what is best for you. 

What We Offer:

  • Mammography – Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (3D)
  • Breast Ultrasound
  • Breast MRI
  • Ultrasound Guided Biopsy 
  • Stereotactic Biopsy
  • MRI Guided Core Needle Biopsy
  • Ductograms
  • Wire Localizations for Surgical Biopsy

Phone:

  • 602-277-5551, ext. 5498 (breast center appointments)
  • 602-222-6548 (breast center fax number)
  • 602-222-2619 (release of information/medical records)
  • 602-222-6495 (release of information/medical records fax number)

Hours of Service:

  • 6:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., Monday-Friday
  • Please check in 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.

Location:

  • Main Building; Amethyst Clinic; 1st floor - The main hospital building is on the 7th Street side of the hospital campus just north of Indian School Road. We are located near the 7th Street entrance, inside the Amethyst Women's Clinic, which is across the courtyard from the Emergency Department.
    • From the northeast parking lot: Drive/walk/wheel south to the hospital main entrance off 7th Street. There is a tall flagpole and a circular drop-off area. Walk/wheel up the main sidewalk in the courtyard toward the main entrance (west). The Amethyst Clinic will be on your right (north). 
    • From the parking garage, southwest and northwest parking areas: Walk/wheel into the ACC front entrance. You can recognize this entrance by the several flagpoles, drop-off area and a U.S. mailbox just outside the door. As you walk through the automated front doors, stay to your right, then continue east down the hallway on the first floor. Walk past the Starbuck’s, then pass the elevators until you are standing in the Emergency Department intake area. Go out the north door of the Emergency Department and you'll be in the courtyeard facing the Amethyst Cllinic.

 

NOTE ABOUT SERVICE ANIMALS: Any person bringing any guide/service or program therapy animal into the facility must follow these guidelines:
  • Service or guide dogs will accompany the handler at all times unless doing so would either create a fundamental alteration, impede the treatment of patients, or the area has restricted access.
  • Areas off limits to service animals/guide dogs include, but may not be limited to:
    • Radiology procedure areas
    • Procedure and negative air pressure rooms
    • Areas where invasive procedures are being performed
    • Laboratory/Phlebotomy areas
    • Medication preparation areas
    • Decontamination, sterile preparation and storage areas
    • Food preparation areas
It is important to be aware that VA staff cannot take control of any service animal, cannot take the service animal to a kennel or boarding facility, and cannot attempt to board the service animal themselves on VA property. A service animal must be under the control of a handler or alternate handler at all times.


Preparing for your Mammogram

At the time of scheduling, you will be asked a few questions to determine if you should be scheduled for a screening or diagnostic mammogram. Please inform the staff of the location of any prior mammogram so we may retrieve it prior to your appointment.  Having your previous mammogram for comparison is important and allows the radiologist to identify breast changes earlier. 

When you register at the facility, you will be asked to provide information regarding any prior breast surgeries or hormone use, as well as family or personal history of breast cancer. Please inform the technologist if you have any current breast health concerns so that the radiologist can be notified.

During a mammogram, you will stand in front of a special x-ray machine. One breast rests on a platform. A special plate is then brought close to the platform and briefly compresses the breast while the image is obtained. This may cause some discomfort, but it is important to spread the tissues apart so that abnormalities within the tissue are easier to see. Please tell the technologist if you experience pain, and she will work with you to obtain the best possible images.

Your mammogram images will be transmitted to the radiologist for review and interpretation. For a screening mammogram, a detailed report will be sent to your doctor and, depending on radiologist availability at the time of your exam, you will either receive your results immediately after your appointment or will they will be mailed to you. If you are being seen for a diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound, the radiologist will discuss your results with you at the time of your visit.

Staff:

  • Dr. Katherine Martin, Director of Breast imaging, Lead Interpreting Physician
  • Dr. Monali Gupta, Interpreting Physician

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I wear deodorant?
A. Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots.  If deodorant is detected on the images, they will need to be repeated.

Q. Do I need to bring medical history or records to the appointment?
A. If you have not had a mammogram at our facility and have prior mammograms elsewhere, it is very important that we obtain both the films and reports.  Previous films are used to detect subtle changes over time.   

Q. What should I wear to my appointment?
A. It is best to wear a two-piece outfit so that you only have to remove your top and bra for the examination.

Q. How long will my appointment take?
A. We usually allot one half hour for your appointment.  However if you are having a breast problem/complaint; normally have complicated mammograms with extra pictures; do not have previous films, or have difficulty standing, please  tell the receptionist at the time you schedule so she can allot for adequate time so as not to impose on the next appointment time.  

Q. When do I get my results?
A. Depending on radiologist availability at the time of your exam, you will either receive your results immediately after your appointment or will they will be mailed to you.

Q. I got my mammogram, I participated in a 5K, I have a pink ribbon sticker on my car, is there anything else can I do to help fight breast cancer?
A. Yes.  Please encourage friends and family members to have a mammogram. Whether you had a delightful experience or are less than enthusiastic about getting mammograms, please do not relay to other women that mammograms are not necessary or are painful.  Bad mammogram stories over the years have resulted in unnecessary stress for many women who have not yet had one.  In fact, many women delay their first mammogram because of their fear of this simple exam.  So please, instead of putting fear into the minds of your sisters, daughters, and friends, encourage them to take their first step toward this potentially lifesaving screening. 

Q. Why do you need my prior films?  Can't you just tell me whether I have breast cancer or not based on today's exam?
A. Like fingerprints, your breast images are unique from other women.  Having your prior images may prevent you from having additional breast imaging and/or biopsies. Comparisons made with previous studies can show subtle changes that may indicate slower growing cancers.  

Q. Why do I need a Mammogram?
A. A mammogram can make a big difference in your quality of life. Chances are it will simply reassure you that everything is fine. But, if something unusual does show up on your mammogram, you will have given yourself an incredible gift. Breast health problems found early are very treatable.

Q. What does ACR accreditation mean?
A.
Our facility has voluntarily gone through a vigorous review process to ensure that we meet nationally-accepted standards of care. Our personnel are well qualified, through education and certification, to perform medical imaging, interpret your images, and administer your radiation therapy treatments. Our equipment is appropriate for the test or treatment you will receive, and our facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines.

Q.
Why should I have my imaging exam done at an accredited facility?
A. When you see the gold seals of accreditation prominently displayed in our imaging facility, you can be sure that you are in a facility that meets standards for imaging quality and safety. Look for the ACR Gold Seals of Accreditation.  To achieve the ACR Gold Standard of Accreditation, our facility's personnel qualifications, equipment requirements, quality assurance, and quality control procedures have gone through a rigorous review process and have met specific qualifications. It's important for patients to know that every aspect of the ACR accreditation process is overseen by board-certified, expert radiologists and medical physicists in advanced diagnostic imaging.

Q. What does the gold seal mean?
A. When you see the ACR gold seal, you can rest assured that your prescribed imaging test will be done at a facility that has met the highest level of imaging quality and radiation safety. The facility and its personnel have gone through a comprehensive review to earn accreditation status by the American College of Radiology (ACR), the largest and oldest imaging accrediting body in the U.S. and a professional organization of 34,000 physicians.