Early detection is the best defense against breast cancer. At the Ann L. Baroco Center, our breast health team is dedicated to winning the fight against breast cancer by providing the latest technology for early detection with a compassionate, caring touch.
We utilize several different methods for breast cancer detection, including digital mammography, breast MRI and biopsy. Our state-of-the-art imaging system from GE Healthcare delivers highly detailed images of the breast and its surrounding tissues.
Mammography - X-ray imaging of the breast - has proven to be the most effective way to detect breast cancer in its early stages. The American College of Radiology recommends annual screening mammograms for women over the age of 40.
Mammograms can show small lumps or growths that a doctor or woman may not be able to feel when doing a breast exam. When reading a mammogram, doctors look for abnormalities, as well as changes from previous mammograms.
Sacred Heart offers all-digital mammography as well as ImageChecker, a computer-aided detection system that provides an electronic "second opinion" of mammograms. ImageChecker reads and analyzes the films and marks suspicious areas that may be associated with cancer. This assists radiologists by flagging areas on a mammogram that may warrant additional evaluation.
Learn more about our guidelines for when and how frequently women should have mammograms.
Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) helps detect breast cancer earlier in patients who are at high risk for breast cancer or who have had breast cancer already. This technique captures multiple cross-sectional pictures of the breast and – through the use of a computer – generates highly detailed 2D and 3D images of the breast and its surrounding tissues for a faster, more accurate diagnosis of breast cancer.
With your comfort in mind, the breast MRI uses a specially designed, removable table that is padded and contoured to fit a woman’s body. The coils can adjust for all sizes of breasts up to FF, and the machine can be entered feet-first, which can be very comforting for claustrophobic patients.
If an abnormal area appears on your mammogram, a breast biopsy may be needed to determine if cancer is present. During a breast biopsy, a needle is inserted into the breast to obtain tissue samples from the area of concern. Done onsite at the Ann L. Baroco Center, this procedure can be performed while the patient is sitting or lying down. It requires only a local anesthetic and about an hour of the patient's time.
Biopsies can be performed ultrasound-guided, MRI-guided or mammography-guided (stereotactically).
Our stereotactic breast biopsy procedure utilizes the Mammotone, which does not require anesthesia and enables women to have peace of mind and the information they need sooner to make the best health decisions possible. Results are often ready in as little as 48 hours.
The Ann L. Baroco Center offers a dedicated breast health navigator to help ease anxiety, provide education and support our patients and families.
Our breast health navigator:
- Coordinates appointments to ensure timely care
- Works with physicians to create a personalized care plan
- Serves as the patient advocate and advisor
- Provides a source of information and support
- Empowers patients
- Connects patients to a support group and a survivor network
- Facilitates communication between the patient, family and members of the healthcare team
- Serves as a public advocate for breast cancer awareness
In the event you are diagnosed with breast cancer, our navigator will help connect you with specialists at the Sacred Heart Cancer Center and will be available for you each step of the way to assist you and your care team from diagnosis to surgery, treatment, recovery and survivorship. There is no charge for navigation services.
For questions or assistance, please contact our breast health navigator at (850) 416-2398.
Genetic counseling is designed to help patients understand and adapt to the various implications of genetically inherited diseases. The most commonly known genes linked to breast cancer are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. After counseling, patients who wish to undergo genetic testing may learn if their family history of cancer is due to an inherited gene mutation.
Individuals are considered to be candidates for cancer risk assessment if they have a personal and/or family history (maternal or paternal lineage) of cancer with features suggesting an increased possibility of hereditary cancer. Read more about genetic counseling and the criteria for 'at risk' families who may benefit from a referral to genetic counseling.
Sacred Heart offers the area’s only Advanced Practice Nurse in Genetics – Lori Farmer, ARNP, MS, MSN, APNG. Lori can be reached at (850) 416-1751.