Breast health specialists in South Tampa, Florida
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer to affect American women. That's why education and routine breast cancer screenings are so important.
At HCA Florida South Tampa Hospital, we offer comprehensive breast health services to aid in the early detection of breast cancer. Our breast health specialists use advanced imaging and diagnostic technology to identify breast cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable. Working together, we strive to make it convenient to receive the breast care you need, all while helping make your appointment with us as comfortable as possible.
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To schedule a breast imaging appointment, contact us today.
To schedule a breast imaging appointment, contact us today.
Our breast health and imaging services
The radiologists at our hospital perform an array of imaging services. We also offer advanced testing options if an abnormality is found. Our services include:
- Screening digital mammograms — This is an X-ray of the breast to identify any potential abnormalities in women who are displaying no signs or symptoms of breast cancer.
- Diagnostic digital mammograms — This is a more detailed X-ray used to take a closer look if an abnormality is found on a screening mammogram or if a woman comes to her doctor with signs or symptoms commonly associated with breast cancer. It may also be used to get a better view in patients with breast implants.
- Breast ultrasound — This test uses ultrasound technology, which involves high-frequency sound waves, to screen for breast abnormalities, such as tumors.
- Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — This test uses MRI technology to detect breast cancer through capturing multiple images that combine to create a detailed image of the breast. A breast MRI may be used in addition to a yearly mammogram if you are considered to be at a high risk for developing breast cancer. A breast MRI may also be conducted following a breast cancer diagnosis to learn more about the location and extent of the condition.
- MRI-guided breast biopsy — This type of biopsy is guided by MRI imaging to identify the precise location of a breast abnormality, such as a lump.
- Stereotactic breast biopsy — This type of biopsy uses mammography to identify the precise location of an abnormality in the breast.
We use full-field digital mammography to offer our patients the very best imaging experience. Digital mammography uses computers and specialized digital detectors to produce images that are displayed on a high-resolution computer monitor. These images can be stored the same way as a computer file.
From the patient’s viewpoint, a digital mammogram is very similar to receiving a traditional, screen-film mammogram. Both use compression and X-ray imaging. The main difference with digital mammography is that your technologist can view your results on a monitor in a matter of seconds. There is no need to wait for film to develop, so you may have shorter imaging times.
Additionally, our hospital’s mammography services are accredited by the American College of Radiology. This recognition reflects our commitment to providing high-quality mammograms to our patients.
Benefits of digital mammograms
The breast is primarily composed of soft tissue. When X-rayed, this tissue can appear foggy, making it hard to identify subtle signs of early breast cancer. Digital mammography allows your physician to alter the brightness and contrast of the image, as well as zoom in for close-up views of specific areas.
Other benefits include:
- Easier file storage and retrieval
- Reduced need for retakes
- Streamlined information sharing and receiving
If your mammogram, or other imaging procedure, detects an abnormality, we can conduct a biopsy. This means we will remove a small tissue sample, using MRI or mammography guidance, and determine if cancer is present through analyzation of the tissue sample. The good news is, the majority of biopsies find no cancer is present, but a biopsy is often the best way to be sure of the diagnosis.
As listed above, we use image guidance to perform biopsies with pinpoint accuracy, most commonly breast MRI and stereotactic breast biopsy. The procedure requires only a small incision and local anesthesia.
Frequently asked questions
The imaging staff at our hospital are happy to answer any and all of the questions you have. However, below we have provided answers to some of the most common questions we receive.
When should I start getting mammograms?
The breast cancer screening guidelines of the American Cancer Society state that women should begin receiving annual mammogram screenings between 40 and 44 years old. At 55 years old, women can begin receiving mammograms every other year, instead of annually, if they wish and their doctor agrees.
Women with an increased risk of developing breast cancer may need to begin screenings sooner or have supplemental screenings. Talk with your healthcare provider about the appropriate screening schedule and technique for you.
How should I prepare for a mammogram?
If you have had mammograms in different facilities, call those facilities in advance and arrange to have your previous mammograms, reports and any other treatment reports forwarded. Do not wear deodorant, powder or cream under your arms, as it may interfere with the quality of your mammogram.
What should I expect during my mammogram?
You will need to undress above the waist for this procedure. You will be given a wrap to wear during the mammogram. You and a breast imaging technologist will be the only ones present during the mammogram.
The technologist will position each breast, one at a time, on the mammography equipment. The breast will then be compressed, and the X-ray will be taken.
If you are having a screen-film mammogram, the technologist will take all of the X-rays needed for the examination. They will then develop the films before you leave, to make sure each film shows the right view and exposure. If you are having a digital mammogram, each X-ray will appear on the technologist’s computer screen, and they will make sure each image shows the right view before positioning you for the next X-ray.
The entire procedure should take about 20 minutes.
Are mammograms painful?
Breast compression may cause some discomfort for a brief time during each X-ray. Breast compression helps obtain better X-rays by:
- Flattening the breast so the maximum amount of tissue can be examined
- Allowing a lower X-ray dose to be used, since the X-ray beams pass through a thinner amount of tissue
- Holding the breast in place to prevent blurring caused by motion
If you have sensitive breasts, schedule your mammogram the week after your period, which is when breasts are less tender.
How can I maintain my breast health?
The risk of developing breast cancer increases as you age. Adhering to the following guidelines can help improve your chances for early detection and maintaining good breast health:
- Perform a breast self-exam every month (Most doctors recommend beginning this practice at 20 years old.)
- Schedule yearly mammograms (Most women should begin annual screenings between 40 and 44 years old.)
- Receive a clinical breast exam conducted by a healthcare professional every year
If a warning sign appears, such as pain, a lump or unusual nipple discharge, see your healthcare provider immediately.
What are the risk factors for developing breast cancer?
There are several know risk factors for developing breast cancer, including:
- Early onset of menstruation
- History of breast cancer (family or personal)
- Late onset of menopause
- Regular alcohol use (two or more drinks per day)
- Usage of oral contraceptives
- Usage of hormone replacement therapy
Talk with your healthcare provider about ways to reduce your risk, including proper diet and exercise.
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