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Diagnostic Imaging

At the Breast Health Centre, we have the equipment and the experts in breast imaging to find out what your breast problem is.

Procedures used to look at the problem may include an ultrasound, ultrasound core biopsy, mammography and stereotactic biopsy.

If you have been referred to the Breast Health Centre for more tests to take a closer look at your breast, we encourage you to bring a support person to the appointment. Due to the room size, you cannot bring that person into the exam room. The person is welcome to wait for you in the reception area. Please note that having more tests does not mean you have breast cancer, as many breast concerns are not cancer.

Diagnostic Mammogram

A diagnostic mammogram is usually the first test your health-care provider will order before you come to the Breast Health Centre. It is used to take pictures of a breast concern and is looked at by a radiologist to decide if more tests are needed. The Breast Health Centre offers diagnostic mammography to a small number of patients who require this test at our Centre. Individuals can receive referrals to mammography centres for a diagnostic mammogram from their health-care provider. 

Manitoba’s digital mammography system has been designed with a provincial scope so that every patient, no matter where they live, will have access to the same high-quality equipment, technology and expertise.

About 90,000 Manitobans have mammograms every year. 99% of breast cancers occur in women. About 900 women in Manitoba are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Regular screening mammograms have been proven to reduce deaths from breast cancer by 20-30%.

Breast Ultrasound

A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the breast. The picture can show if the lump is solid or filled with fluid. Ultrasound can be used to take a closer look at an area of concern found on a mammogram. It is also used for younger women (under age 35) to assess a breast concern instead of a mammogram.

A radiologist (xray doctor) and radiology technologist will be with you during the test. You will lie on your back or side. Gel is applied to the breast and a probe (wand) is placed on top of the breast to create the picture.

Breast biopsy

Breast Ultrasound Biopsy
The Radiologist uses ultrasound to help guide a special needle into the breast to take samples of tissues in the area of concern. Local anesthesia is used to “freeze” the area where the tissue sample is taken. The procedure can take up to 30 minutes, but plan to be at the Breast Health Centre for 30-60 minutes. We recommend you arrange for someone to drive you home after the biopsy. Before you leave your appointment you may be given a future appointment to meet with a surgeon to discuss management of your breast concern.

Click here for more information and patient instructions for a breast ultrasound biopsy.

Stereotactic Biopsy
A stereotactic biopsy is done when there is a breast concern seen on a mammogram that cannot be felt, or seen, on an ultrasound. The Radiologist uses a mammogram and a computer to help find the exact area of concern.

During the procedure, you will be positioned face down on a table. The table has a hole that your breast fits through. The breast is then compressed in a mammography machine and pictures are taken. A special needle is used to take samples from the breast to send for testing. The entire appointment can take up to 60 minutes. We recommend you arrange for someone to drive you home after the biopsy.

Click here for more information on stereotactic breast biopsies.

How do I cope while waiting for results?

  • It is important to remember most breast changes are not cancer
  • It is not unusual to feel anxious waiting for test results
  • Many describe the waiting to be difficult. It can be helpful to get the support you need. Look for ways to help you cope during this time
  • Support can come from your family, friends, community or organizations such as the Breast & Gyne Cancer Centre of Hope (204-787-2970, toll free: 1-866-561-1026 ext. 72970)
  • Do not be afraid to ask us questions at any time

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