Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is a leader in providing mammograms and other breast imaging for women in the Pacific Northwest — including screening mammograms to look for cancer in women without breast symptoms and diagnostic mammograms to look for the cause of a symptom.
- We are recognized as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.
- SCCA offers 3D mammography as our standard screening exam for all patients so your radiologist gets a detailed, layer-by-layer picture of your breast.
- Our breast imaging center is staffed by radiologists who specialize in breast imaging exclusively.
- The imaging center is part of our Women’s Center where a dedicated team offers comprehensive breast health services.
- For your convenience, we also offer screenings on the SCCA Mammogram Van at health centers, stores, and other locations around the Seattle area.
Request a screening mammogram
Call (206) 606-7800 to schedule your mammogram at one of four convenient locations.
- SCCA Women’s Center at SCCA South Lake Union
- SCCA Mammogram Van (various locations)
- UW Eastside Specialty Center
Do I need a screening mammogram?
Screening mammograms detect breast cancer in the great majority of women who have the disease but don’t feel a lump in their breast. By detecting cancer before it can be felt, mammograms save lives.
- SCCA doctors recommend women 40 or older have a screening mammogram every year if they are at average risk for breast cancer.
- This matches guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers, including SCCA.
This recommendation is not right for everyone.
- If you are at higher-than-average risk, you may need screenings earlier and more often.
- Some women may choose to start screening later or be screened less often.
Organizations like the American Cancer Society and the United States Preventive Services Task Force differ on the age to start screening and whether to have screenings every year or every two years.
- What is most important is that you have screenings regularly at an interval that matches your risk, values, and preferences.
- Your health care provider or an expert at the SCCA Women’s Center can assess and explain your risk and help you decide on the screening schedule that’s right for you.
SCCA offers 3D mammography, also called digital breast tomosynthesis or DBT, as our standard mammographic screening exam for all patients. This state-of-the-art technology allows doctors to examine your breast tissue in greater detail, one layer at a time.
With 2D (conventional) mammography, one image of your breast is taken from above and one is taken from the side. 3D mammography takes many images of your breast from both angles and uses high-powered computing to convert them into a stack of layers, or “slices,” each only 1 millimeter thick.
This means your radiologist can see breast cancers more clearly and provide a more confident assessment. 3D mammography might reduce your need for follow-up tests of tissue that is actually normal but could seem abnormal on a 2D image.
Getting a 3D mammogram is much like getting a 2D mammogram. A specially trained technologist will position your breast on a special platform and compress it under a paddle. The X-ray arm will sweep over your breast, taking multiple images.
What are the risks of getting a mammogram?
For most women, the benefits of getting a mammogram outweigh the risks. But, like all tests, mammograms have some risks:
- Most breast cancers can be seen on mammograms, but some cannot. If you have breast concerns, talk with your doctor or breast health specialist about your symptoms. It is important to do this even if you just had a mammogram that did not show any problems.
- A mammogram can result in a "false alarm." A false alarm is when a mammogram shows a possible problem that turns out to not be cancer after more tests are done. These tests may include more imaging exams or having a small tissue sample (biopsy) taken for testing in the lab.
- At SCCA and UWMC, false alarms occur for less than 10 percent of women (fewer than 10 out of 100 women). This is better than the average rate for health care facilities in the U.S.
Who interprets the results?
An expert trained in breast imaging will read and interpret your images. SCCA and UWMC radiologists who read mammograms are certified by the American Board of Radiology and have received extra training in breast imaging. Our radiologists exceed the national criteria for excellence.