Breast cancer is very treatable and our goal at Mercy is to provide personalized treatment plans with trusted care and support every step of the way. At Mercy, a full team of breast cancer specialists evaluates every patient to craft a comprehensive and coordinated strategy. Breast Cancer Nurse Navigators organize appointments, provide essential education materials and guide patients through every step in the treatment plan.
The breast cancer experts at Mercy use the latest imaging and diagnostic tools to diagnose and determine the best course of treatment based on your personal hormone sensitivity or genetic abnormalities.
A screening mammogram is performed on women with no evidence of lumps or other symptoms. Mammography uses low dose X-rays to evaluate the breast. Just like with most things, mammograms have gone digital. With digital, the image is still produced by X-ray, but then stored on a computer.
For women with dense breast tissue, a three-dimensional or 3D mammogram uses low dose X-rays to take pictures of thin slices of the breast from different angles and then uses computer software to reconstruct the image. The more dense a breast is, the harder it is to see cancer on a mammogram image.
Diagnostic mammography includes additional X-ray views of areas of concerns (found on physical examination or on the screening mammogram) to provide more information about the size and character of the abnormality.
A diagnostic test that uses sound waves to create images of the breast and surrounding tissues of areas of concerns (found on physical examination or on the screening mammogram). Tissues of different densities reflect sound waves differently. Learn about ultrasound-guided core biopsy.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A breast MRI with contrast is the best test available for the detection of breast cancer. An MRI may show problems in the breast that cannot be seen on a mammogram, ultrasound or CT scan. The MRI generates images that show the breast's normal structure, tissue damage or disease (such as infection), inflammation or a lump.
If the MRI shows an abnormality, your Mercy doctor will do further testing to find out if the problem is serious. This may involve doing an ultrasound test or a biopsy, or both.
Stereotactic-Guided Core Biopsy
This type of biopsy is most helpful when mammography shows a mass, a cluster of microcalcifications (tiny calcium deposits that are closely grouped together) or an area of abnormal tissue change. We will collect small samples of tissue from your breast with a hollow needle which is precisely guided to the correct location with the use of X-rays and computer automation.
This type of biopsy is most helpful when there is an abnormality seen on an ultrasound or a palpable mass (something that is felt) in the breast. An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to form a picture of internal structures of the breast.
During an ultrasound-guided core biopsy, small samples of tissue are removed from the breast with a hollow needle. The needle is guided to the correct location by closely monitoring the needle path through the breast tissue on the ultrasound screen.
Additional Breast Cancer Testing
Whenever a breast biopsy shows cancer, Mercy pathologists test the tumor for three standard biomarkers. Learn how tumor subtyping leads to improved treatment plans.
The Mercy team evaluates every patient’s personal and family cancer history to see if they qualify for genetic testing for inherited cancer-causing mutations such as BRCA. About 10 percent of breast cancer is due to a hereditary genetic mutation. Learn more.
At Mercy you'll be cared for by a team of dedicated cancer and medical specialists all working together to create care plans focused on enhancing your quality of life.