Early Detection Saves Lives


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with 75% of cases occurring in women older than 40.

Early detection saves lives. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the easier and more successful the treatment. Detected early, breast cancer is more than 95% treatable. PCMS supports the following steps to good breast health, recommended by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and suggested by American Cancer Society:

Annual Screening Mammography for women starting at age 40. Women under 40 with either a family history of breast cancer or other concerns about personal risk should consult with a trained medical professional about risk assessment and when to begin mammography.

Clinical Breast Examinations by a trained medical professional at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and annually after 40

Monthly Breast Self-Examination (BSE) starting by age 20.


What is a Mammogram

Mammography is a technique that uses X-rays to provide an image of the breast. The image, called a mammogram, is used to find potential signs of breast cancer – such as tumors, small clusters of calcium (microcalcifications) and abnormal changes in the skin. A mammogram can detect a lesion when it is half the size of one that can be felt by touch. Mammography is the best screening tool available today for breast cancer. It can find cancers at an early stage, when they are small and most responsive to treatment.

A typical mammogram consists of two views of each breast in which they are compressed firmly between two plates. The best time for breast examination is 5-7 days after cessation of menses, when the influences of hormones are minimal. This is also when, generally speaking, the breasts are less sensitive, therefore considered the most comfortable and least painful time to have a breast exam.

The complete procedure takes only a few minutes, and is performed by a trained technologist under the supervision of our qualified radiologists. A physician analyzes the X-rays, looking for specific abnormalities or changes related to breast cancer. A written report is then sent to your doctor. On occasion, the physician may order additional views or other modalities, such as an ultrasound. In some cases, a doctor may also request follow-up consultation for ongoing diagnostic reasons – in which case, the physician will contact you directly to go over any details or assessments that s/he may have in addition to our reports.


Benefits of a Mammogram

Mammography is the best breast cancer screening method available today. It detects approximately 2-3 times as many “early” breast cancers as physical examination. Its key role is to identify a site of breast cancer early in its development when it is still very small, and often a year or two before a mass is large enough to be felt as a lump. In its early stages, breast cancers respond better to treatment, often requiring a much lesser degree of surgical or drug treatment.

Very low doses of radiation are used during mammography screening. With advances in sensitivity and precision of radiological equipment, very low amounts of radiation are utilized to produce a very clear and precise image.

Early detection is key, and mammography helps prevents the growth of a more prolific form of breast cancer.


Preparing for a Mammogram

To prepare for a mammogram, you should dress comfortably in a two-piece outfit. (You will need to undress from the neck to the waist.) Please do not apply powders, deodorants or creams to your underarms or breasts – they may interfere with the clarity of an X-ray.


Mammography and Implants

Women with implants require two additional views to visualize tissue. Using the Eklund Technique, implants are pushed back and breast tissue is pulled forward for evaluation.
(Due to the nature of mobile mammography, Pacific Coast Medical Center is not able to provide this option. Please consult with your primary care provider for more information.)


Physical Disabilities & Breast Cancer Screening

Research shows that women with physical disabilities tend to have mammograms less often than women without such limitations. While many factors come together to cause this disparity, the most common reason has to do with lack of access. Many mammography facilities aren’t designed to accommodate women who have significant challenges. One of the best solutions is to call the certified mammography centers in your area to find out if they meet your needs. Partnering with your healthcare provider can help things go even smoother and assist other disabled patients. (Due to the nature of mobile mammography, Pacific Coast Medical Center is not able to provide this option. Please consult with your primary care provider for more information.)


Mammography Report

For the purposes of accurate reporting, a radiologist requires high technical quality in each study. Interpreting mammograms takes considerable training and experience. In addition to strict federal compliance, Pacific Coast Medical Services goes beyond the federal minimum requirements to deliver both early detection and peace of mind.

Every exam is interpreted as follows:
Category 0 Additional examination is recommended.
Category 1 No abnormalities identified.
Category 2 Benign findings.
Category 3 Most likely normal; a subtle area is in question and should be closely monitored.
Category 4 Areas of greater concern exist that require biopsy in order to make a definitive diagnosis.

If you are among the patients asked to return in six months for a special view of an area, your study is a Category 3. Our assessment of your examination is almost definitively negative, but there is a subtle area in question that we would appreciate re-examining in six months to insure its stability. This request is not a cause for alarm. It is simply a diagnostic follow-up in order to confirm our previous findings. The odds are upward of 90% that it is not a significant finding. However, it is only by being extremely careful and cautious with every subtle finding that we will discover, or uncover, the early preclinical and curable abnormalities for which we are constantly searching. 

If we request a six-month study, a letter will generally be sent to you and your referring physician explaining the reason for our request. The probability is high that this is not a significant finding. A personal reminder will be sent to you by your primary care provider at the time of the requested follow-up study. Only a limited study of the area in question will be necessary at that time.


PCMS’s Tailored Approach to Mammography

Every patient is different with different needs, issues and types of breast tissue. For this reason, at Pacific Coast Medical Services we “tailor” the mammogram to each patient. Our general practice is to take a standard four-view study. The techniques vary in relation to the density and type of breast tissue we find.

Our staff is highly trained and experienced in making decisions on how to best demonstrate your breast tissue for thorough evaluation by the examining radiologist. Do not be alarmed when special views are added in the course of your study. This is part of our “complete” approach of every patient study. Back to Top

Contact us by calling 714.758.0660
or by e-mailing Mobile Mammograms.