Frequently asked Questions

What insurance plans are accepted?

There is no insurance reimbursement for consultation and immediate results at the time of a screening mammogram.

As we limit the number of patients we see daily to allow us to read your films and give you your results before you leave we are unable to take the low reimbursement offered to us if we contract with insurance companies. By reading your mammogram while you wait we never have to call you back for additional views.

Although you are responsible for payment at the time of service, we will give you all the codes and completed paperwork necessary to submit to your insurance company so they can reimburse you directly.

We do take Medicare. We do read your screening mammogram immediately and we give you your results before you leave. However, Medicare does not allow us to consult with you following a normal result for a screening mammogram. If however there is a finding on your mammogram that needs additional views or ultrasound we perform these immediately. So you never have to return for a second visit. If your mammogram is abnormal our radiologist meets with you and discusses your results with you right away.

Why is Early Detection Important

A Yearly Mammogram is the best gift you can give yourself!
There are not many things more important for your health and well-being than taking the time to get your yearly mammogram. At Arizona Breastnet, we provide the newest technology to aid in the earliest detection of breast cancer, with digital mammography and now whole breast screening ultrasound. Our patients receive immediate results at the time of their appointment.

We all know that it is easy to put off getting a mammogram, and before we know it, over a year has passed.

Mammograms don’t prevent breast cancer, but they can save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible. It used to be that 50 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer died of their disease, but now less than 15 percent of women diagnosed die from it. 75% of cancer deaths are in unscreened women. 56% of unscreened women die from their breast cancer because the cancers are bigger and more advanced. 5% of women who get regular screenings die of their cancer, and if you exclude the two most aggressive cancers, less than 2% die. If diagnosed early, the majority of women will not need chemotherapy.
We are also seeing a very concerning trend that has serious consequences. Statistics are showing that fewer women are getting mammograms each year, a steady decrease since 2003. There are many reasons sited for this decline; anxiety about the results, discomfort sometimes felt during the exam, cost issues, or frankly not taking the time to get to the doctor. However – the risk has not gone away.

Remember these important points:
+ Mammograms save lives.
Finding breast cancer early provides the best opportunity to beat it.

+ Don’t be afraid of the procedure.
It takes only 10 minutes and for most women, is painless.

+ Get a mammogram yearly.
Don’t skip a year as you don’t want to “skip” the chances of early detection.

+ Be knowledgeable about where you are going.

At Arizona Breastnet, we:

Have experienced mammography technologists who take pride in their work
and love what they do
Have experienced radiologists who have specialized in mammography and breast ultrasound for over 20 years
Provide immediate results so you don’t have to worry and wait
Provide immediate follow-up should a concern or problem be found
Schedule you within 24 hours if you discover a breast lump or have a concern
Ask that you bring your previous mammogram films with you if it is
your first time at Breastnet
Provide CAD – computer aided detection – which is second review of your films

The Complete Picture:
As important as yearly mammograms are to your breast health, the most powerful breast cancer detection program also includes Breast Self-Exams and Clinical Breast Examination.
If you have not had a breast exam by your physician within 6 months of your mammogram appointment, we can perform a Clinical Breast Examination at the time of your mammography.
Recommendations from the American Cancer Society
for Early Breast Cancer Detection
+ Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year.
+ Between the ages of 20 and 39, women should have a clinical breast examination (CBE) by a health professional every 3 years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health care professional every year. The CBE should be conducted close to and preferably before the scheduled mammogram
+ Beginning in their 20s, women should be told about the benefits and limitations of a breast self-exam (BSE). Women should be aware of how their breasts normally feel and report any new breast change to a health professional as soon as they are found.
+ If a change occurs, such as development of a lump or swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple retraction (turning inward), redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin, or a discharge other than breast milk, you should see your health care provider as soon as possible for evaluation. However, remember that most of the time, these breast changes are not cancer.
+ Although there are some features of a mass that suggest whether it is likely to be benign or cancerous, women examining their own breasts should discuss any new lump with their health care professionals. Experienced health care professionals can examine the breast and determine whether the changes you have noticed are probably benign or whether there is a possibility they may be due to a breast cancer. They can determine when additional tests are appropriate to rule out a cancer and when follow-up exams are the best strategy. If there is any suspicion of cancer, a biopsy will be done.
Without question, breast physical examination without mammography would miss the opportunity to detect many breast cancers that are too small for a woman or her doctor to feel but can be seen on mammograms. Although mammography is the most sensitive screening method presently available, a small percentage of breast cancers do not show up on mammograms, but can be felt by a woman or her doctors.

Why do I have Breast Pain

A very common cause for concern among our patients is breast pain. This is particularly common in perimenopausal women. Breast pain is invariably due to hormonal stimulation of the breast tissue, which causes it to swell and become tender and lumpy to the touch.

Fifty percent of the time, breast pain is in one breast only and localized to a certain area of that breast. It is most common in the upper, outer aspect of the breast, often radiating into the under arm area. The second most common area to experience breast pain is deep to the nipple. Breast pain or tenderness can be very variable in character. Patients often describe it as tingling sensations, dragging sensations, pins and needles sensations, dull constant pain, and sharp intermittent pain. More rarely, the breast pain is due to other causes such as shingles, costochondritis, referred nerve pain, abscess, mastitis, and severe fibrocystic changes.

If pain is only on the left side, cardiac pain has to be ruled out. If the breast tissue is “fatty” and the mammogram is normal, no further diagnostic work-up is necessary. If you have a dense breast, i.e., a lot of normal fibroglandular tissue, which can obscure underlying lumps on a mammogram, we will usually perform an ultrasound to exclude the possibility of an underlying lump.

Occasionally, the pain can be due to a cyst and rarely an unsuspected breast cancer is found in the area of the pain. Breast cancer is not painful, but an unsuspected breast cancer can be present in a dense breast, so we will usually perform ultrasound to exclude this possibility.

Reducing your caffeine intake, which includes chocolate, often significantly decreases the pain. Hopefully this information will answer some of your concerns.

What is a Breast MRI

MRI uses a magnetic field and radio waves together with a computer to create cross-sectional, three-dimensional pictures of the breast.
MRI of the breast is not a replacement for mammography or ultrasound imaging, but rather is a supplemental tool for detecting and staging breast cancer and other breast abnormalities. Medical studies now show breast MRI can contribute to the early detection of, and prevention of, deaths from breast cancer. Recent research has demonstrated that MRI can detect some small breast lesions sometimes missed by mammography.
Breast MRI, with contrast injection, can find cancers that are not seen on a mammogram or more rarely on breast ultrasound screening. Breast MRI is now indicated in young women at high risk for breast cancer.
Breast MRI is also indicated in patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer particularly if they have dense breast tissue or cancers difficult to see on a mammogram.

Why is a mammogram better than a thermogram?

mammogram is an x-ray used to exam the breast and to detect an actual mass or calcification in the breast tissue. It evaluates breast changes in women who have no breast complaints or symptoms and in women who experience breast problems such as a lump, pain, or nipple discharge.

Most often, mammograms used to look for cancer in women who have no symptoms are referred to as screening mammograms. Mammograms performed on women who have lumps or who have a suspicious change seen on a screening mammogram, are called diagnostic mammograms.

thermogram is used to detect subtle changes in the heat of the breast, which may or may not be cancer. The entire thermogram process can take up to 25 minutes. In many centers that offer thermograms, there is usually a 10 to 15 minute waiting period prior to the imaging time for the patient’s skin to adjust to the room temperature. During this time, patients are alone in an environmentally controlled room to acclimate the surface of the skin to be imaged and must be free of clothing and jewelry during this step.

When the imaging starts, the patient stands in front of the thermal imaging camera with fingers/hands inter-clasp and placed on the back of the head, with elbows pointing out to their sides. While the patient is disrobed from the waist-up, the technician takes between 7-9 views/thermal images, which usually requires 10 minutes.

The thermogram creates infrared images (heat pictures) that the doctor analyzes to find any asymmetries. Any abnormality that causes change in heat production is seen on a thermogram. Inflammation such as infections, trauma to the breast and even sunburn will cause abnormalities in thermal pictures. Breast cancer is only one of the abnormalities that can be detected in the development of breast cancer.

Can I get a Thermogram and skip the Mammogram?

The problem with thermograms is that women are having these done without having mammograms. Thermograms can miss breast cancers, which are caught on mammograms, and can also show false positive results. If an unusual result is found on a thermogram, the physician will then recommend having a mammogram as well, thus having to do both procedures. Not only does this take time and worry, it can be costly, since thermograms are not covered by insurance.

A recent case involved a patient’s mammogram which clearly showed a large left breast cancer tumor, easily seen on the mammogram. The tumor did not show up on the thermogram study that the patient had previously. Had the patient skipped her mammogram, this cancer would have grown even larger until eventually, it was either felt or ulcerated the skin.

Presently the standard of care is an annual mammogram beginning at age 35 to 40 depending on family history and monthly self breast examination with an annual physical breast exam performed by your doctor. Women who have dense breast tissue should consider additional screening tools such as whole breast ultrasound and breast MRI depending again on family history.

Do you take Medicare?

Yes we do take Medicare. We do read your screening mammogram immediately and we give you your results before you leave. However, Medicare does not allow us to consult with you following a normal result for a screening mammogram. If however there is a finding on your mammogram that needs additional views or ultrasound we perform these immediately. So you never have to return for a second visit. If your mammogram is abnormal our radiologist meets with you and discusses your results with you right away.

If you need further information please give us a call at 480 314 7600.

How do digital mammograms differ from conventional film?

Digital mammograms differ from conventional mammography in that it allows the images to be viewed on a monitor instead of being developed on film. Positioning the patient for the study is still the same. Compression is still an important aspect and necessary to acquire a good diagnostic image.

What type of payments are accepted at Breastnet?

We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Debit Cards, checks or cash.

Who will discuss the results of my test with me?

Our Breastnet physicians sit down with you upon the conclusion of your exam and review the results of your test immediately. When you leave Breastnet, you will have your results.  Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover this consultation.  If you are Medicare, our physician will interpret your results while you are at Breastnet and you will be given your results.  If, however, you have a new finding on your mammogram, our physician will consult with you in order for you to have a full understanding of your results prior to leaving.

Who conducts mammograms?

At Breastnet, all exams are completed by female mammography technologists with more than 15 years of experience each.

How long will it take for my doctor to receive the results of my test?

Because all exams are completed in our office by our physicians, your results are made available to you at the conclusion of your appointment. They can be sent to your physician within 24 hours of your exam. In case of an unexpected finding, we send the results the same day.

How long does a mammogram take?

Digital mammograms are read immediately.
Screening ultrasound take between 10 and 20 minutes to read.

Do I need a doctor referral to make an appointment?

Depending on the reason you are having an exam, the type of exam you are scheduling and what your insurance covers, a referral is sometimes required. If you have Medicare, you must have a referral. It is best to call our office if you have a question concerning a referral.

How far in advance do I need to make an appointment?

At Breastnet, we are committed to being the most responsive radiology center in Arizona. We can usually schedule your appointment within 72 hours of your call. In the case of a new breast lump, we will see you on the next business day.