Mammography is an important part of a breast-care program that includes clinical breast exam and mammography.

Why Annual Screenings?

Mammography plays an important role in early detection of breast cancer, even before your health care provider can see or feel changes in the breast. The American College of Radiology and Society for Breast Imaging recommend an annual screening mammogram starting at age 40. This results in the most lives saved from breast cancer.  

Why measure breast cancer risk?

  • Identify women that may be at high risk
  • Educate women about their risk
  • Recommend risk based screening

Learn more about the Tyrer-Cuzick breast cancer assessment process.

Visit our mammography page for additional procedure information.

3D mammography

3D Mammography is the most exciting advancement in breast cancer detection in more than 30 years

We utilize Selenia Dimensions mammography machines in our Anchorage center as part of our ongoing commitment to offer the latest in breast cancer screening. A 3D mammogram consists of multiple breast images taken in just seconds to produce a 3D image. The doctor can then look through the tissue one millimeter at a time seeing detail inside the breast in a way never before possible.

Computer aided detection

Our breast cancer screening program incorporates computer-aided detection (CAD), which helps analyze mages using a sophisticated software program, which highlights areas on a mammogram that contains features associated with cancer. The radiologist reviews the images conventionally then reviews the special CAD markers, if any, identified by the CAD software.

3D mammography on the go

Our Mobile Mam Coach makes regular visits to many Southcentral communities. Find your community on our calendar for upcoming dates and times. Pre-registration is required.

Private Scheduling:

Businesses and organizations can schedule a private Coach visit for their employees and their dependents who are due for annual screening.

  • We come to your group
  • Quick, 20-minute screenings
  • Private and comfortable

Learn more about private visit opportunities, or contact our Mobile Mam Coach coordinator for more information and to schedule your private visit.

Stereotactic biopsy system

Continuing our commitment to women’s health and compassionate care, we now provide a prone stereotactic biopsy system with 2D/3D imaging.

  • Cutting-edge technology
  • Superior image quality
  • Shortens procedure time
  • More comfortable
  • Improves patient experience

Ask your scheduler if this system is appropriate for your procedure.


Providence Imaging Center in Anchorage utilizes different procedures to obtain a sample of breast tissue. An image-guided biopsy allows the radiologist to sample the area of concern without surgery. Mammographic or ultrasound guidance is used to find the area.

The radiologist removes samples of breast tissue using a special needle. These tissue samples are sent to the pathologist for review. The patient's healthcare provider will receive a pathology report several days after the biopsy and will review the results with the patient.

Biopsy procedures are done at the Providence Breast Procedure Center. 

Stereotactic/Tomosynthesis/3D Biopsy

You will lie on your stomach on a padded table.  Your breast will go through an opening in the table. The radiologist will perform the biopsy from below.  It is important that you lie very still during the procedure. Your breast will be compressed just as it was for your mammogram.  Mammogram images will be obtained, and a computer will be used to locate the biopsy area.

Ultrasound Guided Biopsy

You will lie on your back on a padded table with one arm raised above your head.  You will be able to watch the ultrasound screen as the radiologist performs the procedure if you wish.

There are no diet restrictions; eat and drink as usual.  Take your usual medications on the day of your appointment.

If you take daily aspirin or any anticoagulant such as coumadin, heparin or plavix, please notify our staff. There may be special instructions for you.

Please advise us if you have any allergies prior to your appointment.  Lidocaine is the local anesthetic normally used for ultrasound guided biopsy and lidocaine with epinephrine is normally used for the stereotactic/3D biopsy. 

A two piece outfit will be more comfortable.  Please wear or bring a supportive bra.

What to expect during the procedure

During a stereotactic breast biopsy you will lie on your stomach on a padded table.  Your breast will go through an opening in the table.  The radiologist will perform the biopsy from below.  It is important that you lie very still during the procedure.  Your breast will be compressed just as it was for your mammogram.  Mammogram images will be obtained, and a computer will be used to locate the biopsy area.

Your skin will be cleaned before the radiologist administers lidocaine, a local anesthetic.  This will numb an area about the size of a quarter.  A very small incision will be made and several tissue samples will be obtained.

During the procedure you will be informed about what is occurring.  If you experience discomfort, the radiologist can administer more local anesthetic during the procedure.

After the procedure
  • The radiologist or technologist will apply pressure to the biopsy area for several minutes to stop any bleeding.  Your incision will be closed with a steri strip and a sterile dressing.  You will be given a small ice pack to put in your bra for a few hours to help prevent bruising.
  • Please avoid lifting anything over 10 pounds for the next two days after the procedure to further prevent bleeding or extended bruising.
  • Take a non-aspirin pain reliever like Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, etc., if you experience any discomfort.  Avoid aspirin for about 48 hours.
  • Remove the gauze dressings and shower the morning after your biopsy.  Leave the steri strips in place; they should began to peel off on their own in four to five days.
  • Check the biopsy area daily.  If you notice excessive pain, bleeding, swelling, drainage, redness, or the area is warm to the touch please call the nurse at Providence Imaging Center.  The nurse is available M-F 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • You should be able to drive or return to work following your biopsy.

Note:  You may notice some bruising of the biopsy area which should go away in about a week.  You may also have a very small amount of bleeding.  If bleeding occurs after you leave the Procedure Center, apply continuous direct pressure over the incision site for five minutes and replace the bandages. It is common to feel a small lump after the biopsy. It will slowly reabsorb.

Results and follow-up

Your clinician’s office should contact you with the results of your biopsy about 3-5 working days after the procedure.  A diagnostic mammogram and/or a breast ultrasound is often recommended at six months post biopsy.  

Find out about Ductography (also known as Galactography). 

Wire localization, also referred to as needle placement, is used to identify the exact location of abnormal breast tissue for the surgeon. The wire serves as a marker, letting the surgeon know which area needs to be removed.

What to expect during a wire localization

Using the mammogram as a guide, the radiologist will locate the area of concern, numb the area with a local anesthetic, and then insert a thin wire into the breast so that the tip rests in the suspicious area. The wire is kept in place with a gauze dressing. A second mammogram is taken to confirm that the wire is located in the correct area.

After the procedure

The technologist or radiology assistant will take the patient to surgery.

Results and follow-up

The patient's surgeon will receive a report of the wire localization procedure. For questions about the procedure or report, contact the PIC nurse at 907-212-3607.

Prep instructions
Free mammography for qualifying women

Financial assistance may be available through the State of Alaska Ladies First program for women who are uninsured or under insured, and who also meet other qualifications and income requirements.

Visit the Ladies First website for full program information. Once qualified, please ask your Ladies First representative to schedule your screening mammogram at Providence Imaging Center. 

Breast Imaging Center of Excellence

Our mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, ultrasound-guided breast biopsy and stereotactic breast biopsy programs are all accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR), resulting in a special designation as Alaska’s first Breast Imaging Center of Excellence.

Stereotactic breast biopsy and breast ultrasound accredited facility logos