Center for Excellence in Women’s Care

The Center for Excellence in Women’s Care at UofL Health – Medical Center East is part of the UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center’s Breast Care Center. The Breast Care Center is proud to have received the “Breast Imaging Center of Excellence” designation from the American College of Radiology. This means that our breast imaging services meet the highest standards of the radiology profession.

As part of Kentucky's first accredited Breast Center through the Nationally Accredited Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), our Breast Care Center has been the gateway for a multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment for nearly a decade. We provide convenient, comprehensive outpatient screening, diagnostic and interventional services for patients.

Both screening and diagnostic mammograms, and other related breast cancer screening and diagnostic procedures, are available. The center at Medical Center East offers patients the highest level of care:

  • Expertise: Each of the radiologists is fellowship-trained in breast imaging and practice solely in the breast imaging subspecialty.
  • Excellence: Our subspecialty-trained physicians perform every ultrasound examination. At many facilities, an ultrasound technologist will perform the ultrasound and send results to the radiologist on-site or even at another location.
  • Convenience: Results and recommendations of your diagnostic exam will be given to you in person by the radiologist at the end of your visit. If a biopsy is needed, it will be scheduled prior to you leaving the center.
  • Communication and collaboration: We use a multidisciplinary approach. This means that a comprehensive team of clinical experts from surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, plastic surgery, radiology and pathology evaluates each new breast cancer case weekly and jointly develops a customized treatment plan for each person.
  • State-of-the-art diagnostic and interventional technology including 3D mammography (tomosynthesis), digital mammography, ultrasound and breast MRI. Procedures performed include ultrasound biopsy, stereotactic biopsy, MRI biopsy, galactography, cyst and fine needle aspirations, wire and seed localizations, and clip placement.

3D mammography

Digital breast tomosynthesis, otherwise known as “tomo” or 3D mammography, is available at UofL Health – Medical Center East. It has been shown to increase cancer detection rates (particularly for invasive cancers) up to 15%, and reduce recall rates up to 30% compared with standard 2D digital mammography alone.

Screening mammogram

Patients can self-refer for screening mammograms, and don’t need a referral from a physician. Screening mammograms are routinely administered to detect breast cancer in women who have no apparent symptoms.

Women should begin annual screening at age 40. Women at a higher risk for breast cancer due to hereditary or personal risk factors may need earlier or additional screening.

Diagnostic mammogram

Diagnostic mammograms require a referral from a physician. They are used when results from a screening mammogram come back suspicious of possible cancer or after some signs of breast cancer alert the physician to check the tissue, such as a lump, breast pain, nipple discharge, thickening of the skin on the breast, changes in size or shape of the breast.

To schedule a 3D mammography appointment at UofL Health – Medical Center East, call 502-259-6408.

Breast MRI

UofL Health – Medical Center East was the first facility in Louisville to receive accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR) for breast MRI. Breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses radio waves and strong magnets to make detailed pictures of the inside of the breast.

Breast MRI is often used in women who already have been diagnosed with breast cancer, to help measure the size of cancer, look for other tumors in the breast and to check for tumors in the opposite breast.

For certain women at high risk for breast cancer, a screening MRI is recommended along with a yearly mammogram. MRI is not recommended as a screening test by itself because it can miss some cancers that a mammogram would find.

Although MRI can find some cancers not seen on a mammogram, it’s also more likely to find something that turns out not to be cancer (called a false positive). False-positive findings have to be checked out to know that cancer isn’t present. This can mean more tests and/or biopsies. This is why MRI is not recommended as a screening test for women at average risk of breast cancer, because it would result in unneeded biopsies and other tests for many of these women.

Breast ultrasound

Ultrasound is useful for looking at some breast changes, such as lumps (especially those that can be felt but not seen on a mammogram) or changes in women with dense breast tissue. It also can be used to look at a change that was seen on a mammogram.

Ultrasound is useful because it can often tell the difference between fluid-filled cysts (which are very unlikely to be cancer) and solid masses (which might need further testing to be sure they're not cancer).

Ultrasound can also be used to help guide a biopsy needle into an area so that cells can be taken out and tested for cancer. This can also be done in swollen lymph nodes under the arm.

Breast biopsy

To determine whether an abnormality in the breast is benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous, it is necessary to obtain a tissue sample for microscopic evaluation.

A biopsy is most helpful when mammography or ultrasound shows a mass, suspicious calcifications or an area of abnormal tissue change. A breast biopsy is performed to remove some tissue from a suspicious area in the breast and examine it under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. At Medical Center East, we perform both stereotactic and ultrasound-guided biopsy procedures:

Stereotactic biopsy

In a stereotactic biopsy, a special computerized mammography machine pinpoints the area of concern. You will be asked to lie down on a special procedure table and place the breast through an opening. The breast is lightly compressed to immobilize it throughout the procedure.

A connected computer produces detailed images of the abnormality to be biopsied, which guides the doctor to collect a sample of tissue.

Ultrasound-guided biopsy

Minimally invasive breast biopsies using ultrasound imaging are performed while you are lying on your back or side. Using ultrasound guidance, the doctor will identify the abnormal area of concern. While viewing the images on a computer monitor, the doctor will guide a small probe into the breast to collect a sample of tissue.

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