Breast care in Nashville, Tennessee
TriStar Health offers comprehensive breast cancer screening in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. We combine the latest techniques with an experienced team of radiologists and other physicians. Using advanced imaging technology and diagnostic procedures, our specialists can detect the early stages of breast cancer when it is most treatable.
For a free physician referral or more information, call TriStar MedLine® at (800) 242-5662.
A mammogram is an imaging procedure where low-dose X-rays are used to examine breast tissue. Specially trained doctors (radiologists) interpret these imaging results to determine if there are abnormal lumps or cysts in the breast.
Typically, women 40 years old and older are advised to get annual screening mammograms. Annual mammograms are extremely important to find any evidence of breast cancer at an early stage, improving the likelihood of successful treatments. A digital mammogram has the capability of locating tumors and cysts that are too small to find by touch alone.
If something abnormal is found, or if there are symptoms such as pain or nipple discharge, a diagnostic mammogram may be scheduled for further analysis. Additional tests may be performed, including a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or biopsy. Diagnostic mammograms may also be used to monitor breast cancer through the treatment process or for those who are in remission.
Our breast care specialists offer tomosynthesis, which is a 3D mammogram. During this type of mammogram, multiple images are taken from a variety of angles, generating a 3D reconstruction of the breast. This higher-quality image allows radiologists to diagnose potential abnormalities with better accuracy.
Additional breast imaging and diagnostic procedures we offer
If an abnormality is found during a mammogram, a diagnostic ultrasound is used to determine if the lump is filled with fluid (which is usually benign), or solid (which can be a benign fibroadenoma or cancer). High frequency waves bounce through the different layers of tissue in the breast to create an image of these abnormalities.
Ultrasounds may also be used for younger women instead of a mammogram. This is because dense milk glands in younger women's breasts can make it difficult to distinguish between lumps and glands on a mammogram.
MRI scans may be used to find potential tumors or cysts undetected by a mammogram. This is usually reserved for women who have a higher genetic risk of breast cancer or for women who are monitoring effects from treatment.
If an abnormality within the breast has been identified, the next step is usually a biopsy. A biopsy is a diagnostic procedure that collects a sample or, in some cases, removes abnormal breast tissue. We perform all types of biopsies, including fine needle, core needle and surgical biopsies.
Fine needle biopsy
In a fine needle biopsy, a very thin needle is inserted into the breast to collect cells from the abnormal tissue. These cells are analyzed under a microscope. This type of biopsy is usually only done for lumps that can be felt by touch. It is the least invasive type of biopsy, taking only a few minutes in a doctor's office.
Core needle biopsy
In a core needle biopsy, a hollow needle is inserted into the breast to pluck a sample of the abnormal tissue. This tissue is analyzed under a microscope. A core needle biopsy provides more information than a fine-needle biopsy. It can show doctors if the mass is slow or fast-growing, if it is likely to spread or has already spread and if it requires certain hormones (such as estrogen) to continue growing.
If the lump can be felt by touch, this type of biopsy can be performed in an outpatient setting, such as a doctor's office.
If the lump is not easy to find by touch alone, an image-guided biopsy may be used. Image-guided biopsies we offer include:
- Stereotactic biopsy (guided by mammogram imaging)
- Ultrasound-guided biopsy
- MRI-guided biopsy
There are instances when a doctor may decide that a surgical biopsy is the best approach. This is the most invasive type of biopsy, and may leave bruising, or scarring. Talk to your doctor about possible issues caused by this procedure and what is right for you.
Excisional biopsies, the most common type, remove the entire mass and a small margin of the surrounding healthy tissue. This type of biopsy is least likely to give a false negative and, if cancer is found, provides the most information about the tumor. If the mass was the only cancerous tumor in the breast then an excisional biopsy may be both a diagnostic method and treatment to remove all the cancer at once.
Bone density testing
Patients may also receive a DEXA bone density scan or DEXA body fat analysis as part of their complete breast health evaluation. This is because low bone density and/or high body fat are associated with higher risk of breast cancer.
Our breast cancer specialists
If your mammogram or other diagnostic test results in a positive cancer diagnosis, our experienced oncologists, nurse navigators and specialists are here for you every step of the way. In partnership with Sarah Cannon, TriStar Health fights breast cancer by combining advanced technologies with exceptional, patient-focused care.
About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute
As part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally trusted care with the support of a globally recognized network.
Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7, and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (615) 514-2401 or chat online at askSARAHnow.