Our Hologic Selenia Dimensions systems are equipped with 3D™ imaging technology, enabling our mammography experts to see breast cancers earlier, when treatment is far more effective. In fact, when breast cancer is caught in its earliest stages, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100%.
Why do thousands of patients choose Women's Life Imaging Center each year?
We're fast. It's easy to make an appointment--just give us a call, and we can typically get you in within 1 to 2 business days. Then when you come in for a screening mammogram, you can expect to be in and out in under 30 minutes.
We're accurate. We were the first in the Seacoast Region to offer Hologic Genius™ 3D MAMMOGRAPHY™. And today, every patient gets the benefit of 3D, which has been clinically proven to detect cancer at its earliest stage and reduce the need to come back for additional testing.
We're patients too. We've been taking care of women since 1985, including our own staff, like mammography technologist, Michelle, who says: "I know what it feels like to be called back for a diagnostic mammogram. Even I was afraid. That's why I make sure I treat every patient just like I want to be treated, with understanding and compassion." So you can expect to be treated with the utmost compassion by our caring team.
Conveniently located in Somersworth, NH, we offer a relaxed outpatient setting with ample parking just beyond our front entrance. Financial assistance is available to those patients who qualify.
Time to get started. When you come to Women's Life Imaging Center for your first mammogram, we take up to four standard images of your breast. This is called a screening mammogram; it's used for the early detection of cancer in healthy individuals who have no symptoms (called asymptomatic).
This first set of images is your "baseline" against which all subsequent mammograms will be compared. It enables our radiologists to monitor breast changes over time.
When should I have my first mammogram?
Start at 40, annually after—that's our recommendation.
As we tell all of our patients, we recommend having your first mammogram at the age of 40, and get a mammogram every year thereafter. This isn't just our recommendation—we follow the guidelines provided by the following organizations: the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Radiology, Society of Breast Imaging, American Medical Association and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
However, no matter what age you are—even if you're in your 20s or 30s, if you feel a lump, experience discharge or notice any physical changes in your breast, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend a mammogram or a breast ultrasound.
Had your mammograms elsewhere?
Welcome! We are honored that you have chosen Women's Life Imaging Center. When you make your appointment, let us know where you had your prior mammograms. With your "priors," our radiologists are able to compare those existing images with your new images. Comparing images helps us be as accurate as possible.
Why yearly screenings?
Our hair turns gray, our skin becomes less elastic, our vision weakens—the outward signs of aging are obvious. Changes are happening inside our bodies as well; they are just not as apparent. An annual mammogram lets our radiologists see subtle changes inside the breast that come with the aging process, as well as early signs of breast disease.
Does everyone get 3D™?
Yes! 3D™ screening mammography is our standard of care. That means everyone gets 3D™. Why? 3D™ helps us detect breast cancer at its earliest stage, when it's most treatable. So whether you have fatty or dense breasts, whether or not you have a family history of breast cancer, whether you are young or young-at-heart, breast cancer doesn't discriminate and neither do we.
What's it like to have a screening exam?
After you change into a hospital gown, you'll stand in front of our mammography system, where we will gently position your breast on the system's platform. Your breast will be compressed, preventing motion and allowing us to spread breast tissue out. One side and one top view of each breast will be taken. Rest assured; our mammography technologists are exceptionally skilled at making this process as comfortable as possible. And compression is released between each of the four views.
"Thank you for having a wonderful, modern facility staffed
with genuinely kind and thoughtful staff!"
"Appreciated the technician’s explanation and clearing up myths of the process. Did not rush me. Very patient!"
"All staff was upbeat, friendly, compassionate and
understanding – They seemed ready to listen and be supportive."
One of the big benefits of 3D™ is accuracy. Greater accuracy means earlier detection and less chance of being called back for additional testing.
But what if you are called back for a "diagnostic mammogram"?
Don't panic! It simply means that there may be areas on the mammogram, including non-cancerous findings that need a closer look. What types of findings might the radiologist identify? They could be calcifications—small calcium deposits commonly found in breast tissue. The finding could be a lump or mass—or just a benign cyst. In fact, 85% of findings are not cancerous. With a diagnostic mammogram, the radiologist will need to more closely evaluate the specific area where the finding(s) was identified. The radiologist who read your mammogram has ordered specific views to be taken when you are called back—the type of views depends upon the type of finding(s). Rest assured; the technologist will explain what's going on at each step,and you will receive results at the completion of your exam.
"I absolutely loved both technologists! So kind and professional.They did my mammogram and made me feel like an old friend, not a patient. Thank you."
"I liked the way staff recognized possible anxiety and reassured me."
"The Women's Life Imaging team works great together and as a patient, I felt comforted and relaxed. Thank you!"
In some cases, after a diagnostic mammogram, the radiologist may need to conduct an ultrasound. An ultrasound is performed while you are lying on your back. The sonographer scans your breast with an ultrasound device, which uses sound waves to create an image of the tissue inside your breast. The test is completely painless and requires no radiation. It's particularly valuable in helping distinguish between cysts and solid masses.
"I have never met a nicer group of professionals. Everyone at the center is so pleasant and kind. Makes the whole experience so much easier."
"Staff was friendly and thorough – welcomed any questions."
"Excellent service! Very impressed with your courtesy and respect for patients."
If you're scheduled for a biopsy, rest assured; our Nurse Navigator will be right here with you providing comfort and support.
A biopsy has been recommended. So what's a breast biopsy and what's involved? A biopsy enables the radiologist to take a small sample of tissue for testing. Depending on the clinical findings, the radiologist may choose to conduct an ultrasound or stereotactic biopsy. One of our highly trained breast mammography technologists will assist the radiologist, so you'll be in great hands. And before we even get started, our Nurse Navigator is here to help guide you through the process, providing important information, answering your questions and offering all the support you need.
What is an ultrasound biopsy?
Depending on the clinical findings, the radiologist may choose to conduct an ultrasound biopsy. During this procedure, you will be lying down on a comfortable padded table. The radiologist will first administer local anesthesia to the site of the biopsy, then use an ultrasound scanner to guide a needle into that area. The needle is used to take a small amount of tissue, which is then sent to an outside lab for evaluation. One of our highly trained breast sonographers will assist the radiologist. They will make sure you're comfortable, answer your questions and of course, provide any additional support you need.
What is a stereotactic biopsy?
The other type of biopsy procedure we perform is a stereotactic biopsy. During the procedure, the radiologist removes a sample for evaluation. This minimally invasive procedure is an excellent way to identify calcium deposits or tiny masses that are not visible with ultrasound.
No medical procedure is fun, that's for sure. But we've literally elevated this type of biopsy to minimize patient discomfort. How? With our new Hologic Affirm™ breast biopsy guidance system, patients now sit up during the procedure, while the radiologist uses the system to easily locate and take samples of the abnormalities identified during the 3D™ diagnostic mammogram. As one patient told us: "I had a biopsy a few years ago. It was so uncomfortable lying on my stomach. I felt vulnerable. This last time, it was a piece of cake. I sat up in a cushy chair—and it was over before I knew it!"
What do I need to do to prepare for a biopsy?
Whether you are having an ultrasound or stereotactic biopsy, you will need to ask a friend or loved one to drive you to and from Women's Life Imaging Center.
Be sure to eat a full meal before the procedure.
Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit that buttons, zips or snaps up the front.
"The staff who performed by
biopsy were knowledgeable caring and compassionate. I truly felt I was
important as their patient and all was focused on my comfort and
"I was very impressed with the
wonderful staff at WLIC. Everyone from the receptionist to the
radiologist were kind and efficient. Great group of women taking care of women."
"Absolutely amazing! The
entire process was streamlined, efficient and oddly enjoyable,
relatively. I can't express how nice, comforting, smart and helpful the
staff was. They were all excellent."
Bone Density Testing
A Snapshot of Bone Health
You can easily find out how healthy your bones are—and whether you're at risk for debilitating bone diseases like osteoporosis—by undergoing a bone density test. It's a painless exam that takes less than 15 minutes. As you lie on your back on a padded cushion, our "DXA" system goes back and forth overhead, taking scans of areas most prone to breakage: your lower back, hip and sometimes the forearm. Using an extremely low-dose X-ray, the system measures how dense(strong) your bones are. The equipment is an open scanner so you won’t feel closed in. If you wear clothing without any buttons or metal, you won’t even need to change into a dressing gown.
What can a bone density test tell me about my bones?
A lot. It can tell you whether or not you have osteopenia—low bone density. This type of condition can lead to bone fragility, which can increase your chances for fractures. It can also tell you if you have osteoporosis, a debilitating bone disease that occurs when you lose too much bone, make too little or both. Osteoporotic bones are much more apt to break—in fact, people with severe osteoporosis can even break a bone by simply bumping into furniture or turning over in bed.
The bone density test results are reported in two numbers: "T-score" or "Z-score."*
Your T-score is your bone density compared with what is normally expected in a healthy young adult of your sex. Your T-score is the number of units—called standard deviations—that your bone density is above or below the average.
-1 and above: Your bone density is considered normal.
Between -1.0 and -2.5: Your score is a sign of osteopenia, a condition in which bone density is below normal and may lead to osteoporosis.
-2.5 and below: Your bone density indicates you likely have osteoporosis.
Your Z-score is the number of standard deviations above or below what's normally expected for someone of your age, sex, weight, and ethnic or racial origin. If your Z-score is -2 or lower, it may suggest that something other than aging is causing abnormal bone loss. If your doctor can identify the underlying problem, that condition can often be treated and the bone loss slowed or stopped.
Women are more prone to osteoporosis than men. In fact, 80% of Americans with osteoporosis are women. Why? There are several reasons, including:
Women tend to have smaller, thinner bones than men.
Estrogen, a hormone in women that protects bones, decreases sharply when women reach menopause, which can cause bone loss.
So if you are a post-menopausal woman or age 50 and older—or a man over the age of 65—talk to your doctor about getting a bone density test. We know your time is valuable; so if you’re a woman, we can schedule both your bone density and mammogram exams together to get you in and out and on your way.
How to prepare for your bone density exam
Bone density tests are easy, fast and painless. But there are a few things we ask to keep in mind prior to coming in for your scan:
Do not take any calcium supplements or multiple vitamins 24 hours prior to your appointment and no contrast or barium tests for 7 days prior to the exam.
For your convenience, you will not need to change into a dressing gown if you wear something that does not have any metal, such as metal buttons, snaps or zippers. Of course, we have hospital gowns available if you prefer.
million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, putting them at higher risk for breaking bones.
of Americans with osteoporosis are women.
"It seems women are limited on the seacoast where we can do bone densitometry and mammograms, but Women's Life Imaging Center has been a great service provider!"
"Had bone density test done in no time at all. Pain free – excellent!"
"Very friendly, professional staff – wait time was excellent – in and out 45 minutes for mammogram and bone density test!"