Very friendly, personable staff. From the front desk to the exam. Thank you!


I wish to thank you all for the most professional care and concern during my mammogram in Federal Way and biopsy in Auburn. You all treated me with respect and good, old “TLC!” I was so impressed with the gentle care during my biopsy procedure and the understanding I wanted results without delay.


I would like to thank Dr. Blackwelder for his keen eye. My surgeon said you did an excellent job finding the cancer in my breast and most doctors would not have seen it. So, a special thank you! Everyone in your office has been very kind and supportive.


Dr. Ulissey,
I am so grateful for your early detection of my breast cancer. You were right about this being a “speed bump” in my life. We are planning another vacation in a few weeks to the hot air balloon event in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am over the speed bump and moving on!


Very knowledgable, courteous and caring staff – friendly too. They let me know what was happening each step of the way.


Best medical appointment I have is coming to Breast Diagnostic Center!


The nurse was very kind and calming. Thank you!


Dear Doctors,
Oh my gosh! You are so fantastic, I just can’t believe it. Back in June I received a call saying to call your office. By the time I got home, you were long gone. I thought, “Oh no! A bad check-up!” The next day when I got home another message left by your staff advised me not to worry. I had just won the raffle! I was so excited and it was welcome news as the company I had worked for over 39 years just announced they had been bought out and closing the location where I worked. Thank you for making bringing me some good luck.


How does a Radiologist fit into my healthcare team?
In most cases, an individual patient does not know his or her radiologist.  Traditionally, a radiologist interacts with other doctors in the evaluation of medical imaging studies like CAT scans, MRIs, Ultrasound exams, and Mammograms, not the patient.

However, the doctors at Breast Diagnostic Center take a different approach.  We consider ourselves primary care physicians for a woman’s breast problem.  That is why we introduce ourselves to our patients, we discuss their studies with them, we make recommendations, and we treat them as we would a family member.

What type of training does a radiologist have?
All radiologists, including those reading mammograms and other breast imaging studies, have graduated from medical school, are fully licensed MDs, and have had at least five years of additional specialty training in reading medical imaging studies such as X-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, Ultrasounds, and Mammograms.  As compared to the majority of radiologists, physicians at BDC have also received additional significant training in Breast Imaging, combined with years of dedicated experience in reading mammograms.

Should I expect to see my Radiologist?
If you have a specific breast problem, the answer is yes.  Please make sure you tell the person scheduling your appointment that you would like a diagnostic evaluation to discuss a particular concern of yours (such as you feel a lump, your doctor feels a lump, you have focal pain, or any other concern).

If all you need is a quick yearly mammogram checkup and have no particular breast problems or concerns, then there is no need to delay your visit by waiting to chat with the doctor, unless you want to.  We are always happy to review your films with you if you so desire.

Our Facility

Is it important for a facility to be certified with the American College of Radiology?
Yes.  Before 1992, there was no standardization for performing or reading mammograms, and the quality of those studies markedly varied from one center to another.  Now, all centers performing mammograms are required to be certified by either the American College of Radiology or the FDA.  In addition, doctors working at those centers must also be specifically qualified to read mammograms under FDA regulations.

Will I have to pay for parking?
No. There are free, convenient parking spots right in front of our centers.

Breast Health

When should I start getting mammograms?
We recommend yearly mammograms starting at age 40, as do most credible medical organizations such as The American Cancer Society, The National Cancer Institute, and The American Medical Association.

The following groups also agree that a woman should start yearly mammograms at age 40:

  • The American College of Radiology
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • The American College of Surgeons
  • The Mayo Clinic

I have a family history of breast cancer- should I still wait until I’m 40 to start getting mammograms?
Maybe not.  If you have a first degree relative (mother, sister) who was diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50, you should begin your mammograms 10 years earlier than the age of her diagnosis.  For example, if your sister was diagnosed at age 45, you should begin your mammogram screenings at 35.  However, we do not recommend starting mammograms earlier than age 20 except in rare circumstances.  In some cases you may also need additional testing like a breast MRI.

Does insurance pay for yearly mammograms?
Most do, but we recommend contacting your insurance provider to confirm that yours does.

Can I get a mammogram while I’m breast-feeding or pregnant?
Regardless of whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have a concern about your breast, please make an appointment to come in.  We generally will not begin with a mammogram, but we need to do something, and we will tailor an exam to your particular problem.  Please let the doctor or technologist know if there is any chance you are pregnant.

If you are due for your routine yearly mammogram while you are still breastfeeding, and you do not have any breast problems or concerns, we recommend delaying your mammogram until 4 months after you have finished breastfeeding.

Can I get a mammogram if I have breast implants?

Will my mammogram hurt?
We certainly hope not!  While compression of the breast is necessary to get the best results, most women at our centers do not complain of pain.  If you haven’t started menopause, schedule your mammogram for the first week after your menstrual cycle, when your breasts are usually less tender.

If at any time you feel uncomfortable, please let the technologist know.   We will work with you on this issue.

Do mammograms give me a lot of radiation exposure?
Mammograms use very low levels of radiation.  Strict guidelines set by the FDA ensure that mammogram machines are safe and use the lowest dose of radiation possible.

One must weigh the risk versus benefits of mammography.  According to a posting at Cornell University, the risk of getting breast cancer from yearly mammograms is essentially so low that it is essentially negligible and cannot be truly calculated.  Yet the benefit from getting yearly screening mammograms is immense.  While no study is perfect, in most cases we catch breast cancer early enough to make it a speed bump in a woman’s life, not a major disaster.

Ask your family doctor this question:  “If you had a drug you could give all your female patients once a year, and this drug had no real side effects, and it reduced the mortality from breast cancer by at least 35% and maybe over 50%, would you give it to me?”  I’ll bet your family doctor says “yes.”  This is my corollary to a mammogram – it’s not a drug but a pretty good medical test.

Is there anything I need to do before my mammogram appointment?
If you haven’t started menopause, schedule your mammogram for the week after your menstrual cycle, when your breasts are usually less tender.  Please let us know if you are having any issues with your breasts.

The day of your appointment, do not wear deodorant, powder, lotion, perfumes, or ointment underneath your arms or around the chest area.  These things may mimic problems on your mammogram.

Wear a two-piece outfit so you only have to remove your top.  The technologist will give you a gown to wear.

Visit Prepare for Your Appointment for instructions on all our diagnostic procedures.

When you arrive at our office we will ask you to fill out a medical history form.  Please let the doctor or technologist know if there is any chance you are pregnant.  If you have medical insurance, please bring your card as we may need to verify coverage and settle any payments or partial ones.

What is the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram?
Screening mammograms are your yearly routine checkup if you do not have any breast related problems.  If you do have a concern such as a lump, pain, or anything else (just ask if you are not sure), then we will schedule you as a diagnostic evaluation.

For diagnostic mammograms, our doctors will review your results while you are still in the office.  If our doctors see something potentially suspicious, the patient is taken care of the same day, rather than having to go home and worry hours or days about the ‘what-ifs.’  Any additional testing and biopsies that may be needed can usually be done right away.

Is it okay to skip years?
No.  We are confident that women who get yearly mammograms have a well proven reduction in mortality.  Studies vary but some of the best ones demonstrate a 50% or more reduction in mortality for women who get regular mammograms.  Mammograms save lives and yearly mammograms save more lives.

How will I find out about my results?

  • If you are getting a routine checkup, your results will be mailed to you usually in a day or two and will also be sent to your primary doctor or other practitioner.
  • If the results of your routine check up indicate we need to do additional testing, someone from our office will call you probably before you get the letter in the mail.
  • If you are in the office for a diagnostic evaluation then you will get the results in person from the doctor before you leave the office.
  • If you gave your email address at the time of your appointment, you will receive an email about how to view your results online. More information here.

When should I stop getting mammograms?
There is no absolute number for this. Some women, as they get older, are still in good health.  Some eighty year olds are still very healthy, while some seventy-five year olds are not.  If you are still in pretty good shape, keep getting mammograms.  However, if your health is in a decline and you are not expected to be doing well in the next five years, then talk with your doctor because it may then be okay to skip or not get mammograms.

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