Mammograms in Caldwell, Idaho

The goal of breast health care is to provide screening and diagnostic services for the earliest possible detection of abnormalities. Breast cancer is most treatable when caught early, so through annual mammograms, diagnostic procedures and surgical treatment, patients can maintain their overall breast health.

Screening mammograms are offered year-round at the West Valley Women’s 3D Imaging Center in Caldwell. To make an appointment for a mammogram or other imaging services, call (208) 455-3905.

Breast cancer screenings

At West Valley Medical Center, we offer comprehensive preventive, diagnostic and surgical care for breast cancer. Our hospital offers the latest in mammogram technology, advanced biopsy methods, surgical treatment and enhanced post-surgical care. Our facility gives you access to exemplary providers while empowering you to understand your diagnosis, care options and survivorship opportunities.

In the event that the mammogram finds an abnormality, our team of experts will support you every step of the way. The first step is a breast biopsy, and we are proud of offer the latest diagnostic technology that provides quick results so we can develop a medical approach to your treatment. Our team of experts includes:

  • Oncologists
  • Surgical oncologists
  • Register nurses and nurse practitioners
  • Radiologists
  • Pathologists
  • Imaging technicians
  • Pathology technicians

Breast cancer treatment

An abnormality does not always mean cancer, but if it does, our multidisciplinary oncology team is here for you. We provide you with access to many different types of treatment so you receive the care that is right for you.

Treatments we provide include:

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy, a type of infusion therapy, uses medication to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. In some cases, more than one type of chemotherapy medication may be administered at a time because some drugs are more successful together.

Chemotherapy can be administered in a variety of ways. These include:

  • Through the mouth (oral)
  • Through the muscles (intramuscular)
  • Though the veins (intravenous)
  • Through the spinal canal (intrathecal)

Radiation oncology

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to treat cancer by preventing cancer cells from multiplying and growing. The goal of radiation therapy is to stop or slow the growth of the tumor. In many cases, the tumor can be destroyed.

Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy, also known as internal radiation, applies radiation directly in and around cancer. This type of radiation helps kill cancer cells, while sparing surrounding organs from excessive radiation.

Surgical oncology

When cancer is detected, one option for treatment is the surgical removal of the tumor. We provide you with access to expert surgeons who are experienced in using advanced procedures for cancer treatment. When possible, we use minimally invasive robotic surgery to provide many benefits to patients, including less scarring, a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery.

Our surgical department's enhanced surgical recovery program helps prepare you before surgery and offers unique after-care to work toward the best possible outcomes and reduce overall patient stress.

Oncology Nurse Navigator

Nurse navigators specialize in cancer care and serve as advocates and educators for you — from diagnosis through survivorship. Our nurse will facilitate communication between your entire care team, help you coordinate appointments and transportation and address any other barriers you may face to support you throughout your cancer journey. Our mission is to provide you with seamless care.

Our nurse navigator assists patients throughout their cancer journey by:

  • Advocating for your needs and connecting you to helpful resources, including rehabilitation services and complementary therapies
  • Creating a personalized experience during your appointments, evaluating your medical needs and communicating that information to your doctor
  • Emotionally supporting your decisions about your care
  • Providing education on your treatment options and clinical trial availability for your cancer type

Mammography services

An annual mammogram starting at 40 years old is the most effective way to detect breast cancer at an early, curable stage. Early detection saves lives and increases treatment options. The earliest stages of breast cancer are detected only by mammography and not by breast self-exams. The mammogram technology available at West Valley will help monitor your breast health and catch breast cancer before it progresses.

What is a 3D mammogram?

Also known as breast tomosynthesis, a 3D mammogram takes a series of pictures and converts them into a 3D image. This allows the radiologist to evaluate every millimeter of your breast separately. Instead of viewing all of the complexities of your breast tissue in a flat 2D image, fine details are more visible and no longer hidden by the tissue above or below. Essentially, your doctor can see your entire breast from any angle, making it more likely they will detect any masses or distortions associated with breast cancer.

We offer our patients 2D and 3D mammography at West Valley, both available in our imaging center.

What to expect at your 3D mammogram

The 3D mammography exam is very similar to having a conventional 2D mammogram. Like a 2D mammogram, our technologist will position you, compress your breast and take images from different angles. Here's what you can expect from the exam:

  • You'll be given a gown to wear in place of your blouse and will be asked to remove necklaces. You can keep your bottoms on.
  • During the procedure, the technologist will place one breast on a "tray" that raises or lowers, depending on your height. She'll then position your breast, head, arms and torso to get the best test results.
  • Next, your breast is pressed against the tray by a clear plate. You'll feel some pressure for a few seconds as your breast tissue is spread out. Most women find it uncomfortable, but not necessarily painful. If you have too much discomfort, please tell the technologist.
  • You will be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds as the image is taken.
  • There is no additional compression required with the 3D exam, and it only takes a few seconds longer for each view.

The entire process of a 3D mammogram takes less than 30 minutes. Afterward, you will be notified of your test results in writing. We can also send the results to your primary care physician or gynecologist.

Preparing for your 3D mammogram

Here are some preparations that can make your 3D mammogram experience more comfortable:

  • Schedule the test for one week after your period when your breasts are less tender.
  • On the morning of your test, don't use deodorant, powder, lotions or perfume under your arms or on your breasts. You can wash normally with soap.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit with a blouse that you can be easily removed.
  • Consider taking over-the-counter pain medication (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) about an hour before the exam to ease any discomfort.

Frequently asked questions about mammograms

The registered mammography technologists at West Valley have seen and heard it all. They understand the most common questions women have prior to a mammogram and help countless women overcome their anxieties.

Who can have a 3D mammogram exam?

A 3D exam is available for all women who would undergo a standard 2D mammogram. All women, regardless of breast type or density, benefit from a 3D exam. 3D mammography is better for women who:

  • Are at high risk for breast cancer
  • Are having a mammogram for the first time
  • Have a prior history of breast cancer
  • Have dense breasts

How much radiation exposure do I get during a 3D mammogram?

Very low x-ray energy is used during the exam, just about the same as a film-screen mammogram. The total patient dose of a 3D exam is within the FDA safety standards for mammography.

Why is annual screening important?

Any single mammogram can miss something, and quite simply, things can change in a year. Cancer starts within a single cell and grows from there. Having yearly images allows your doctor to see any changes that might have occurred in the last year. Sometimes what is not large enough to see one year may be visible the next. Mammograms don’t prevent cancer, but they do give us the best chance of early detection by comparing images over time.

Why can’t I have a breast ultrasound?

In short, breast ultrasounds are less accurate and they miss things. According to the American College of Radiology, ultrasound screenings have a high false-positive rate and can be time-consuming, so they’re often not cost-effective. However, they can be a useful tool in conjunction with mammography for high-risk patients.

What is “dense breast tissue”?

Breasts are made up of a mixture of fibrous/glandular tissue and fatty tissue. Your breasts are considered dense if you have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue but not much fat. Density may decrease with age, but there is little, if any, change in most women.

What is a “baseline,” and do I need one?

A baseline is an initial mammogram that is used as a reference for future breast imaging. We recommend a baseline between the ages of 35 and 40 years old unless breast cancer runs in your family. Talk to your doctor about the right age for you to start having yearly mammograms.

What is the difference between a screening and a diagnostic mammogram?

A screening mammogram is your annual mammogram that is done every year. A diagnostic mammogram is follow-up images taken after the initial example. A radiologist may ask you to come back for this mammogram to rule out an unclear area in the breast. Additionally, if there is a breast complaint or concern (such as a lump) that needs to be evaluated, you'll have a diagnostic mammogram.

Do men get breast cancer?

The short answer is yes, although it’s uncommon. It’s not recommended that men participate in screening mammography, but self-breast exams are appropriate for both males and females. Some risk factors for males include family history, inherited gene mutations, liver disease and radiation exposure of the chest.

Free breast cancer screening program

The Power of Pink program is a free breast screening program. Caldwell Night Rodeo raises money for the program at its annual Power of Pink Night to provide mammogram screenings at West Valley Medical Center and Saint Alphonsus Medical Center to local women who are uninsured, underinsured or underserved.

Eligibility for a free mammogram

Funds are available for women between 40 and 65 years old to receive screening mammograms and for women of all ages with breast cancer symptoms to receive diagnostic mammograms.

Women 40 to 65 years old are encouraged to seek free screenings if they:

  • Have no insurance
  • Have insurance with a deductible of $2,000 or more
  • Meet certain income criteria

To learn more or to apply for aid, visit the Caldwell Night Rodeo website, call West Valley at (208) 455-3905 or download the enrollment form below.

Access Enrollment Form

Make a donation or get involved

If you are interested in donating to the Power of Pink free breast cancer screening program, call (208) 459-2060 or send a check directly to: Power of Pink, c/o Caldwell Night Rodeo, P.O. Box 98, Caldwell, Idaho 83606.