Your breast health is important. That's why we made it even easier to come in for a mammogram, with convenient online scheduling. You'll find some of the region's leading breast health and cancer prevention experts and all the latest technology, including 3D imaging. See how this made a difference for Kelly McLaughlin.
3D mammograms and why they are important
Changes in your breasts often show up in a mammogram long before you can feel them in a self-exam. 3D mammography, or Tomosynthesis, has the power to detect lumps hidden by overlapping breast tissue, and has been shown to increase the detection rate of breast cancer.
With 3D mammography, our radiologists can examine breast tissue one layer at a time and see a level of detail never before possible. When combined with a conventional mammogram, Tomosynthesis has a higher cancer detection rate than conventional mammography alone. Studies show that this technology improves detection of breast cancer with a significant reduction in recall rates.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends a baseline mammogram for women of average risk at age 40, with routine mammograms recommended annually after age 40. Your personal and family medical history will also determine how often you should have a mammogram, so be sure to talk to your doctor.
Remember, you don't need a written order from your doctor for a screening mammogram. Make an appointment online today or call 978-937-6023.
What to expect from your mammogram
Your time is precious, so we try to have you in and out of the facility within 30 minutes. The procedure is simple: One of our licensed mammographers will position your breast on the imaging machine, where it will be gently compressed. This may be a little uncomfortable, but it's not painful. A technologist will X-ray each breast and a radiologist will then examine the images for abnormalities.
Before your appointment:
- Please preregister for your appointment by calling 978-937-6023, Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- We'll mail you an appointment reminder with specific instructions for your exam
- Bring copies of any recent mammograms performed at another facility
On the day of your mammogram:
- We suggest wearing a two-piece outfit so you only have to remove your top
- Please don't wear deodorant, talcum powder, lotion or other substances under your arms or on your breasts
Your Complete connected care℠ team
Our multidisciplinary team of experts works together to provide you with Complete connected care℠ every step of the way, from wellness and prevention to diagnosis to the latest treatments and all the way through to recovery.
You can expect to be seen by top specialists with deep experience in all aspects of breast care. If appropriate, you'll also have your own Breast Health Navigator, a personal guide, consultant, hand-holder, friend and clinical expert all rolled into one.
Jill Steinkeler, MD – Director of Breast Imaging
Board certified in Diagnostic Radiology, Dr. Steinkeler joined the Lowell General staff in 2011 as the Director of Breast Imaging. She completed her Fellowship in Women's Imaging at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, and her residency at Brown University/Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, RI. She received her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA, and completed her internship in Internal Medicine with Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Steinkeler has a special interest in Breast Imaging.
Justin Routhier, MD – Fellowship Trained Breast Imaging Radiologist
Dr. Routhier is board certified in Diagnostic Radiology. He completed both his Fellowship in Breast Imaging and Intervention and his residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA. He received his medical degree from Brown Medical School and completed an internship at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital. His special interests include Breast Imaging and Body Imaging.
Monty Shah, MD – Fellowship Trained Breast Imaging Radiologist
Board certified in Diagnostic Radiology, Dr. Shah completed his fellowship in Breast Imaging and Intervention at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA, and his residency at University of North Carolina Hospitals. He received his medical degree from Texas A&M College of Medicine in Bryan, TX, and completed his internship in Internal Medicine with Scott & White Memorial Hospital/Texas A&M. Dr. Shah has a special interest in Breast Imaging and Intervention.
Certified Breast Health Navigators
The goal of the Breast Health Navigator program is to provide patients with a seamless delivery of breast health care. Breast Health Navigators (BHNs) are nursing professionals who are specially trained to coordinate the clinical, educational and supportive needs of our patients who are either facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis or newly diagnosed with breast cancer. BHNs are experienced in women's health and oncology (cancer care).
Following the receipt of an abnormal mammogram, the BHN will work with the patient and family members to provide support and education and to assist in the delivery of comprehensive breast care at Lowell General Hospital.
From left to right: Ruth Hinde, RN, BSN, CN-BN; Jennifer Gilliatt, RN, MSN, NP, CN-BP; Susan Skinner, RN, MSN, ANP-BC, CN-BP; Jodi Thiele, RN, BSN, MBA, OCN.
Why you should feel confident
Our breast health program is one of the best. We've been recognized for quality and safety and accredited by the American College of Radiology as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. So when it comes to making one of the most important decisions of your life, you can be sure you're in the best of hands.
Accredited by the American College of Radiology as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence;
Lowell General Hospital received recognition as a Gold Standard facility accredited as a Breast Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR). After extensive review, the hospital's consistent quality performance for Mammography, Breast Ultrasound and Stereotactic Breast Biopsy officially earned the three-year accreditation.
The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It's awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards, following a peer-review evaluation by board certified physicians and other medical experts. The excellence of diagnostic images, personnel, equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are all assessed. We received this original designation in 2005 and still maintain it today.
The ACR is a national organization serving more than 34,000 diagnostic and interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine and medical physicists. We have also been recognized by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancers (NAPBC).
Frequently asked questions
What is breast tomosynthesis?
Tomosynthesis is a new type of technology that converts digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or slices – building what is essentially a three-dimensional (3D) mammogram. Now we can examine breast tissue one layer at a time and see more detail than ever before. Small, fine variations are no longer hidden by the breast tissue above and below.
Read or download our fact sheet for more information on 3D Mammography.
Who are the best candidates for breast tomosynthesis?
While the technology is right for any patient, it's especially helpful for younger women or women with very dense breasts. It can be used as a screening or diagnostic tool along with a traditional mammogram.
What should women expect when having a breast tomosynthesis test?
It's very similar to a traditional mammogram, and takes about the same amount of time. You'll be positioned in the same way, and your breast will be compressed under a paddle while images are taken at different angles. The machine makes a quick arc over the breast, taking a series of images at several angles. The images are then examined for abnormalities.
What is dense breast tissue?
On mammograms, breast tissue can appear different depending on the proportion of fatty and glandular tissue. When your breasts are dense, they have more glandular tissue. This is quite common–up to 50% of women have dense breast tissue.
Why does dense breast tissue matter?
It can make it harder to find cancer on a mammogram, and may increase your risk of breast cancer. Breast density should be factored into your overall risk assessment.
What should you do if you have dense breast tissue?
Talk with your healthcare provider. You can also speak to your radiologist directly. There are many other risk factors besides breast density, so be sure to ask if supplemental screening tests such Breast MRI and 3D Mammography are right for you.
Should you have a mammography?
Whether you have dense breast tissue or not, mammography remains the most important way to screen for breast cancer. Starting at age 40, all women with a typical risk of developing breast cancer should have a mammography every year.
Read our Breast Density brochure.