The Women’s Center at the ACC

Breast Care & Mammograms

Peterson’s Women’s Center offers breast care education, support groups, self-care and cancer prevention screenings and treatment. All women are at risk for breast cancer, which increases with age. Annual screenings are key to early detection.

Our breast care navigator reduces patient stress by answering questions and providing emotional support and guidance for those who require additional imaging. If you have questions, please call 830.258.7484.

Examinations and Screenings

Improve your chances of an early diagnosis, treatment and cure with self-examinations and clinical breast exams.

Regularly checking your breast allows you to become familiar with how they normally look and feel. You will be more likely to notice any changes, including:

  • Lumps, hard knots or thickening inside the breast or underarm
  • Breast swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
  • Breast size or shape changes
  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • An itchy, scaly nipple sore or rash
  • Nipple or breast inversion or retraction
  • Sudden nipple discharge
  • New pain in one spot that does not go away

A self-examination can help diagnose breast abnormalities or changes.

A clinical breast exam should be a part of your annual well-women checkup and performed by your doctor.


A mammogram is a breast X-ray that can show small, early stage cancers. High-quality digital screening mammography is the most effective tool to detect breast cancer before lumps can be felt or cancer symptoms appear. Early breast cancer detection helps provide a woman with more treatment options and increases the possibility of a favorable prognosis.

Radiation exposure during a mammogram is low, about the equivalent of a dental X-ray. Mammography can be uncomfortable or painful for some women, but adjustments can be made to reduce your pain.

First Mammograms

Women with average breast cancer risk typically begin annual mammograms at age 40. Women in their 20s and 30s should have clinical breast examinations during physical examinations.

Types of Mammography and Imaging

We perform screening and diagnostic mammograms depending on a patient’s medical history and breast symptoms. Appointments can last up to two hours, depending on the mammogram performed.

  • Digital Mammograms – images are produced digitally. The screening is more sensitive than traditional mammography and can include computer-aided detection (CAD). CAD systems highlight abnormal areas in an image.
  • 3-D mammograms (breast tomosynthesis) – highly efficient and accurate digital technology used to identify smaller tumors sooner for earlier breast cancer detection. Learn more here
  • Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – an extremely sensitive test to look for breast cancer indicators using magnetic fields to view the body.
  • Breast ultrasounds – imaging that can determine if a lump or mass is filled with fluid.

Mammography Preparation

A specially trained technologist will perform your mammogram.


If your mammogram results require further examination, your doctor may recommend:

  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy – a thin needle used to remove cells or fluid from a breast lump
  • Core-biopsy – a wider needle used to remove a larger breast tissue sample.
  • Surgical biopsy- removal of part of a lump (incisional biopsy) or an entire abnormal area (exisional biopsy)
  • Minimally invasive biopsy – a fine needle extracts tissue through an incision for analysis
    • Ultrasound-guided biopsy – an ultrasound identifies suspicious tissue and guides a biopsy needle to the site for tissue collection
    • Stereotactic biopsy – A digital X-ray guides doctors to a biopsy site for tissue collection.
  • Genetic testing – laboratory tests performed to detect cancer genes provide information to help make health care decisions
    • BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 analysis – testing for gene mutation detection before cancer develops.

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