Breast diagnostic centers in Virginia
At HCA Virginia, we are committed to detecting breast cancer and other abnormalities early to help you maintain your breast health. This is why we offer breast imaging and diagnostic services at our hospitals and imaging centers throughout Virginia. Our teams of radiologists, technicians and breast cancer specialists work together to diagnose and treat breast conditions with compassion and expertise.
For more information about our breast health services or for help finding a specialist, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse line.
Breast cancer screening
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the U.S. However, with regular screenings, breast cancer can be detected earlier, when it is more easily treated. We offer these screenings as part of our breast cancer program.
When to get screened for breast cancer
At Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Virginia, we suggest the following breast cancer screening guidelines:
- Monthly breast self-exams beginning at 20 years old
- Annual mammogram screenings for women between 40 and 74 years old with an average risk of developing breast cancer
We also suggest you discuss your individual breast cancer risk with your doctor. Women who are considered at high risk of contracting the disease may need to begin screening mammograms sooner.
Breast cancer risk factors
The average woman has a 12 percent chance of developing breast cancer. Your age and breast density affect your risk for breast cancer, so it's important to note your risk can fluctuate throughout your lifetime.
There are multiple breast cancer risk models, however, the most widely used is the Tyrer-Cuzick risk model. When your Tyrer-Cuzick lifetime risk is 20 percent or greater, you are considered high risk.
Factors that increase your risk include:
- Atypical breast tissue
- Breast density
- Family history of breast cancer
- Hormonal variations
Breast care for women at high risk of developing breast cancer
If you have an increased chance of developing breast cancer, our High-Risk Breast Clinics at Henrico Doctors' Hospital and Johnston-Willis Hospital offer supplemental screening services to detect and treat breast cancer in its earliest stages.
Other services offered at our High-Risk Breast Clinics include:
- Genetic counseling
- Nutrition counseling
- Pharmaceutical risk reduction education
- Smoking cessation assistance
If you have been identified as high risk, ask your doctor about a referral to one of our High-Risk Breast Clinics.
Our breast health services
In addition to providing breast biopsies (when needed), our breast diagnostic centers offer the following imaging services:
A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray of your breasts used to detect breast cancer. The detailed X-rays make it possible to see changes in breast tissue that cannot yet be felt by hand.
HCA Virginia is proud to offer 3D mammography (also known as tomosynthesis) for breast cancer detection. A 3D mammogram consists of multiple breast images taken in just seconds to produce a 3D image. Your radiologist looks through the breast tissue one thin layer at a time, similar to looking through the pages of a book. The fine details of the breast tissue are more visible in the 3D images, making it easier to detect a tumor early.
Preparing for your mammogram
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your mammogram:
- Schedule your mammogram after your menstrual cycle, when the breasts are less tender.
- Wear a two-piece outfit on the day of your appointment, so it's easy to only remove your top for the exam.
- Do not apply deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under the arms or near the breasts the day of your exam.
- Bring your previous mammogram and/or breast ultrasound results with you.
- Let your physician and your mammographer know if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
To schedule your breast imaging exam, please call our diagnostic scheduling line at (877) 319-7744.
Breast density evaluations
Breast tissue is made up of a mixture of tissue types, including fibrous, glandular and fatty tissues. Fibrous and glandular tissues appear white on a mammogram while fatty tissue appears black. Your breasts are considered to be dense if you have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue but not much fatty tissue.
Your radiologist can identify if you have dense breast tissue. This is important because the increased density can make it more difficult to spot cancer on mammograms. If you have dense breasts, talk to your doctor about whether additional screening methods are right for you.
Breast ultrasound is an imaging test that does not involve the use of radiation. This imaging procedure may be used to further evaluate abnormalities that show up during a mammogram. If you are 30 years old or younger, your doctor may recommend a breast ultrasound before a mammogram to evaluate a breast lump that can be felt through the skin.
Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Breast MRI uses powerful magnet technology (not radiation) and 3D techniques. It looks deeper into the breast to find abnormalities that might not be visible through other types of exams.
Breast MRI may be used to:
- Screen women who are at risk for developing breast cancer
- Evaluate an abnormality found on a mammogram
- Evaluate a tumor after a breast cancer diagnosis
- Determine if silicone breast implants have ruptured
Breast MRI is not a replacement for a mammogram, which is still the best tool for breast health screenings.
Schedule a breast imaging appointment
If you are scheduling a breast exam online at one of our hospital locations, please use our hospital imaging appointment request. If you are scheduling at an outpatient center, please visit our outpatient imaging center patient information page.