Screening Mammograms

The American Cancer Society guidelines recommend that women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year. Screening mammography offers the best chance of finding breast cancer early. Finding breast cancer early means more treatment options and a better chance for a cure.

Early detection is the best way to protect against breast cancer

 That’s why HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital is transforming breast cancer screening and detection with the latest 3D mammography technology and a focus on your comfort. Our goal is to make breast health as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Instead of reviewing the breast tissue in a single, flat image, this technology folds together a series of images to create a 3D view, allowing doctors to see the tiniest details and find cancer in its earliest stages. 

3D Mammography


HSHS St. Joseph’s Breese has upgraded its mammography equipment to include SenoClaire, GE Healthcare’s breast tomosynthesis solution designed with three-dimensional imaging technology. This state-of-the-art technology detects breast cancer at the earliest possible stage.

SenoClaire, which was approved by the FDA in 2014, uses a fast, low-dose X-ray sweep around the positioned breast with multiple exposures while removing the potential motion from the tube. This helps to reduce blur and increase image sharpness.

You'll find a comprehensive program of convenient and compassionate breast health services to screen, detect, diagnose and treat breast disease, including:

•    Screening and diagnostic digital mammograms
•    Breast ultrasound
•    Stereotactic guided biopsy
•    Ultrasound guided biopsy
•    Sentinel node biopsy
•    Consultations and second opinions
•    And more

What if I'm Diagnosed with Breast Cancer?


If you're diagnosed with breast cancer, you'll have access to specially designed services including:

•    Surgery including sentinel lymph node dissection
•    Reconstructive surgery
•    Rehabilitative services by specialty trained Physical Therapists
•    Breast cancer support groups
•    Lymphedema program
•    Dietary consultation
•    Look Good, Feel Better Program
•    And more

For more information about the Breast Care Program at St. Joseph's Breese, call 618-607-5600.

What special training and certification does the breast care team have?

St. Joseph’s Hospital Mammography Services are accredited by the American College of Radiology – an honor awarded only to facilities that achieve high practice standards. You’ll be cared for by specially trained and certified technologists and radiologists who average more than 20 years’ experience in interpreting mammography images.

What's the benefit of a hospital-based breast care program?


The Breast Care Program offered through St. Joseph’s Hospital gives you the advantage of an integrated, multi-disciplinary breast care team of radiologists, pathologists, technologists and breast surgeons who collaborate at one convenient location for faster diagnosis. It’s a coordinated approach to breast care, for both well care and cancer care. To ensure the care you receive is the most comprehensive it can be, the team also collaborates with family practice physicians, gynecologists, oncologists and plastic surgeons.

What is a digital mammogram?


A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breast that can detect a breast lump nearly two years before it can be felt. A routine mammogram is the main reason most women visit St. Joseph’s Hospital Breast Care Program. Screening mammograms assess breast health in women with no symptoms who are having a routine breast evaluation. Diagnostic mammograms are used to diagnose breast disease in women with symptoms of a breast problem such as dimpling, a change in texture of the skin of the breast, a lump or discharge from the nipple.

What is ultrasound?


Most lumps and abnormalities turn out to be benign, not cancerous. An ultrasound helps determine if a lump is a benign cyst. Ultrasound works by sending high-frequency sound waves into the breast. These sound waves produce a pattern of echoes that are changed into an image of the inside of the breast. Ultrasound is painless and can distinguish between tumors that are solid and those that are filled with fluid (cysts). It can also help radiologists evaluate lumps that can be felt but cannot be easily seen on a mammogram.

What is stereotactic biopsy?


In this procedure, a computer-guided needle pinpoints a lump precisely, allowing removal of only the tissue needed for examination. A stereotactic biopsy is performed under local anesthesia and usually takes between 30 minutes and one hour. Results of the relatively simple outpatient procedure are generally available within two working days.

What is ultrasound guided biopsy?


An ultrasound guided breast biopsy uses ultrasound to locate the area in question. Unlike procedures that require the use of x-ray, ultrasound-guided biopsy requires no exposure to radiation. This procedure is very useful when suspicious changes can’t be seen by a mammogram or an ultrasound. This type of biopsy is a minimally invasive way to take a sample of breast tissue for further diagnosis. It is also faster and less painful than traditional surgery biopsy.

What is sentinel node biopsy?


Sentinel node biopsy determines whether any cancer cells are present in axillary (underarm area) lymph nodes. The goal is to identify the node that receives lymph drainage directly from the cancer area in the breast. This “node on watch” is identified when a tracer substance is injected into the area around the breast cancer, and the lymph flow carries it to the sentinel node. A small biopsy is then done on that node using local anesthesia.

American Cancer Society Recommendations


Become familiar with your breasts by routinely checking them for signs and symptoms of disease. Please follow these guidelines as recommended by the American Cancer Society:

How often should I do breast self-exams?

All women should perform monthly breast self-exams starting at age 20. It should be done a few days after the last day of your period. If you don’t have periods any more, do your exam on the same day each month. Look for lumps, thickenings, nipple discharges, skin changes or any other signs of change.

How often should I have a clinical breast exam?

You should have a physician examine your breasts every three years if you are between the ages of 20 and 40, and every year after you are 40.

How often should I have a mammogram?

All women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year for the rest of their life. If there is a history of breast cancer in your immediate family (such as a mother, aunt or sister), you may begin having mammograms as early as 35. If you feel you are at increased risk for breast cancer, talk to your physician about when you should begin having mammograms.

For more information about the Breast Care Program, call 618-526-5460.

To schedule an appointment, call St. Joseph’s Hospital Central Scheduling at 618-607-5600.



Healthy Eating for Breast Cancer Patients


Diet is key to any woman's healthy lifestyle, but for breast cancer patients and survivors, it becomes a cornerstone and lifeline to life as we know it. Healthy eating should be part of any wellness plan, especially after surgery and during treatment. But it's tough to make healthy choices when you aren't feeling particularly healthy - and some days, when you just don't feel like eating at all. That's why St. Joseph's Hospital has a full team of dietitians here for you, ready to offer advice on everything from:

  • What to eat after surgery

  • Easy ways to keep hydrated

  • Foods to try when food doesn't sound good

  • Coping with side effects that affect how you can eat

  • Maintaining weight during treatment

  • Eating to reduce risks of recurrence (studies suggest low-fat diets appear to offer a slight reduction in the risk of breast cancer, lower recurrence rates and better survival rates)

  • And more

Before, during and even after treatment, it's important to eat to live - to stay strong, feel better and fight harder. Start with a few simple tips:

  • Eat at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables

  • Get plenty of fiber from sources like beans, fruits, vegetables and whole wheat breads, cereals, rice, and pasta

  • Choose lower fat milk and dairy, and limit high-fat foods

  • Drink plenty of water, especially during chemotherapy

For dietary consultation or more information about the Breast Care Program, call 618-526-5460.