Mammogram screening in Anchorage, Alaska

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Alaska Regional Hospital is dedicated to providing Anchorage patients with the personalized breast health services needed to maintain long-term wellness. We offer comprehensive care through our imaging center, from prevention planning and breast screening to advanced diagnostics, including minimally invasive breast biopsies.

To schedule an appointment, please call (855) 226-9105, or our 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse® line, (907) 264-1722.

Breast health services

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, with one in eight women diagnosed. With early detection through mammograms and self-examination, breast cancer and other breast diseases may be successfully treated.

Our experienced imaging specialists work together to provide comprehensive breast screening services to help save more lives by detecting breast cancer early. Additionally, our facility has been accredited by the American College of Radiology for computed tomography scans (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine and ultrasound.

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is a safe, low dose of X-ray that is able to detect irregularities in the breast. During the exam, one breast at a time will be rested on a flat surface that contains an X-ray plate. Snug compression will be applied to help spread the breast tissue to enable it to be better visualized. The X-ray pictures will be taken from several angles to visualize all of the breast tissue. These exams have two types:

  • Diagnostic mammograms — tests performed for women who exhibit signs of breast disease, have had cancer previously or who have breast implants
  • Screening mammograms — routine tests for women who show no symptoms of breast disease

In a diagnostic mammogram, different views are taken to get more accurate information. In some instances, an ultrasound scan is also taken to clarify findings. For most women, these additional breast imaging studies simply prove that there is no cause for concern.

For our breast cancer imaging patients, Alaska Regional also offers 3D digital mammography, which stores images on computers, rather than X-ray film, to help examine breast tissue for abnormalities.

Why get a mammogram?

The risk of breast cancer increases with age. The American Cancer Society recommends women keep the following schedules for mammograms and clinical breast exams:

  • At 20 years old, begin having your breasts examined by a medical professional at least every three years
  • At 40 years old, begin having a screening mammogram and a clinical breast exam every year

Many experts believe this testing schedule is the most effective way to detect breast cancer when no symptoms exist. The accuracy rate for mammography is more than 90% when used in combination with a physical exam. Mammography can detect a tumor up to three years before it can be felt manually, when the rate of cure approaches 100%.

How do I prepare for a mammogram?

  • Have previous mammogram results available so comparisons can be made
  • Please notify us if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Schedule the test for one week after your period, when your breasts are less tender
  • Wash your breasts and underarms on the morning of the exam but don't use deodorant, powder, or perfume

Other breast diagnostic services

For additional breast diagnostic testing, we offer patients treatment via the Alaska Regional Imaging Alliance, the outpatient arm of Alaska Regional. This facility has been accredited by the Joint Commission and the American College of Radiology in mammography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans. Imaging services are provided by board-certified radiologists and by radiation technologists accredited by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Additional services offered include:

  • Bone density scans (DEXA)
  • Mammography (traditional and 3D)
  • Stereotactic biopsy
  • Ultrasound-guided biopsy