Breast Cancer Screening & Diagnostics
Clinical Breast Exam
A clinical breast exam (CBE) is a physical exam done by a health care provider as part of your regular medical checkup. Your provider should carefully feel your breasts and underarms for any changes or abnormalities (such as a lump). He or she should visually check your breasts while you are sitting up and physically examine your breasts while you are lying down.
Starting at age 20, CBE is part of routine breast cancer screening for women. CBE can be helpful in finding tumors in women under age 40 (for whom mammography is not recommended). When you begin having mammograms, CBE complements these screenings. In women ages 40 and older, CBE combined with mammography may detect more cancers than mammography alone. Although an important complement to mammography, CBE is not a substitute for mammograms in women 40 and older.
You should also talk to your family to learn about your family’s health history and your healthcare provider about your personal risk of breast cancer.
A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray that allows your doctor to have a closer look for changes in breast tissue that cannot be felt during a breast exam.
The Breast Center at OHSU offers conventional digital mammography, as well as three-dimensional (3-D) mammography technology. This new 3-D system, also called breast tomosynthesis, helps your doctor examine your breast tissue in closer detail.
Performed at the same time as your regular mammogram, 3-D mammography helps find breast cancer earlier and gives fewer "false positive" results. During a 3-D mammogram, several images of the breast are taken at different angles. The radiation dose is about the same as conventional mammography.
Not all insurance companies cover 3-D mammography, so please call your insurance provider before scheduling an appointment.
The National Cancer Institute recommends that women 40 and older have mammograms every 1-2 years: Check with your doctor to see what's right for you.
The Breast Center at OHSU offers same-day and walk-in screenings, as well as Saturday appointments. We use all-digital mammography equipment, and are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR), and certified by the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) of the FDA.
A breast ultrasound procedure is commonly performed to determine the causes of an abnormality detected by mammography, a palpable lump, breast pain or lesions. Breast ultrasound may also be used to identify masses in women whose breast tissue is too dense to be measured accurately by mammography, for an ultrasound-guided biopsy or fine needle aspirations. We are accredited by the ACR (American College of Radiology).
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI of the breast does not replace mammography or ultrasound, but is used as an additional tool to examine your breasts if necessary.
We offer MRI services and advanced imaging procedures, such as stereotactic biopsy, MRI-guided biopsy, breast cancer staging and pre-operative localization.
We are accredited by the ACR (American College of Radiology).
Other imaging services
- Stereotactic biopsy A stereotactic biopsy takes a sample from a lump that cannot be felt during a breast exam, but can be seen on a mammogram or an ultrasound.
- Ultrasound-guided biopsy In an ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, ultrasound imaging is used to help guide the radiologist's instruments to the site of an abnormality, as identified from an ultrasound.
- Ductogram A ductogram is used to view your breast ducts, and is helpful in diagnosing nipple discharge.