To determine whether a growth is cancerous, a biopsy (tissue sample) is extracted for further testing. Biopsies are often used in diagnosing cancer when a mass is found during a screening exam.
Biopsy procedures are guided by imaging technology, such as MRI, ultrasound or other methods, and can be performed by:
- Needle – Fine needle and core needle biopsies are used to extract cells or a small core of tissue.
- Stereotactic – Computer and imaging technology are used to guide a needle to a precise spot where a tissue sample can be collected.
- Open or surgical – A sample of the growth, or entire growth, is taken by making a small incision in the skin.
Bone densitometry, or DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry), measures the strength of your bones to determine whether you are at risk for developing osteoporosis or osteopenia (decreased bone mass) — osteopenia often develops into osteoporosis. Doctors use the test to develop an appropriate treatment plan to slow the progression of disease and prevent fractures. Early detection can allow doctors to begin therapy when it can be most beneficial.
Partnering with you for breast health
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. Stringfellow Memorial provides helpful services to educate women on breast health, and encourage self-exams and routine screenings. We utilize highly sophisticated imaging technology that can detect breast cancer at the earliest stages, when treatment can be most effective. The combination of highly trained, caring technologists and the latest imaging technology allows us to deliver the highest quality of care.
Mammography is an X-ray exam of the breasts used to screen for or diagnose breast cancer. Stringfellow Memorial offers state-of-the-art digital imaging technology for mammograms. With digital technology, radiologists can zoom in on particular areas or change brightness or contrast for even greater visibility, and results can be read immediately. It offers numerous benefits to women, including:
- Improved accuracy of screening exams, especially for women with dense breast tissue.
- Less radiation exposure.
- Superior image quality, reducing the need for repeat exams.
Along with mammography, breast MRI can be an effective diagnostic tool. Breast MRI is often used for women who are at greater risk of developing breast cancer or who have dense breast tissue or implants — cases in which mammography is less effective at detecting abnormalities. This technique offers a more comfortable experience for women, and is used to:
- Assess the extent of breast cancer.
- Determine the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiation therapy during breast cancer treatment.
- Further evaluate abnormalities that were found during a mammogram or clinical exam.
- Provide additional detail for treatment planning.
A breast ultrasound is often used to further evaluate an abnormality found during a mammogram. Ultrasound allows doctors to see the area closest to the chest wall, which can be difficult to see using mammography. This technology also helps doctors determine whether a breast lump is filled with fluid (a cyst) or is a solid mass.
When a lump or abnormal area is detected during screening, a biopsy can determine whether cells are cancerous. Advanced imaging technology — such as MRI, mammography or ultrasound — can be combined with minimally invasive techniques to obtain tissue samples. Stringfellow Memorial offers digital stereotactic biopsies, and women can choose to be seated or lying down during the procedure for maximum comfort.