New breast center at Inova Loudoun offers high-tech testing plus comforting care

A Vision for Women’s Health

Few women relish getting a mammogram, but the new Inova Schar Cancer Institute – Peterson Family Breast Center stands poised to make the testing more efficient, pleasant, convenient and, most importantly, even more accurate.

Located on the Inova Loudoun Hospital Medical Campus (click for google map), the 3,800-square-foot breast center opened in March and is the sole facility of its kind in Loudoun County to employ only breast fellowship-trained radiologists. These highly skilled specialists focus entirely on interpreting mammograms and other breast imaging, not scans of any other type.

All our radiologists are breast specialists

“It’s what they do all day long,” says Shannon Lehr, MD, Medical Director of Inova Loudoun’s Breast Program. “With their expertise, I think it’s the best place for women to get their screening and diagnostic mammograms.”

“It’s common for other centers to have one or two breast fellowship-trained radiologists [reading selected images]. But at our breast center, you’re going to have one reading every mammogram, every breast MRI and every biopsy,” adds Crystal Howland, Imaging Clinical Coordinator at the Breast Center. “This will cut back on unnecessary patient call-backs or biopsies. No one else in this area offers this.”

Emphasis on comfort as well as highly accurate mammogram readings

From the moment patients arrive at the Peterson Family Breast Center, small but significant touches aim to enhance their experience. For example, valet parking allows them to walk directly into the suite, where dedicated registration personnel streamline the check-in process. And robe warmers offer comfort before and after breast imaging is complete.

The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art imaging technology, including two 3-D mammography machines — an investment that Inova clinicians consider paramount because they offer the clearest-possible images, especially of dense breast tissue.

In addition to breast imaging, the center’s services include breast navigation, genetic counseling, DEXA bone density scanning, and Inova’s award-winning Life with Cancer® program, which provides patients and loved ones with information, education and support free of charge — regardless of where they live or receive treatment.

When a higher level of care is necessary, patient care can be coordinated with local oncology specialists as well as specialists at Inova Schar Cancer Institute. “We have a very robust breast program here at Inova Loudoun Hospital and adding the new breast center demonstrates our commitment to our community,” explains April Brown, DNP, Senior Director of Emergency Services, Trauma Services and Diagnostic Imaging at ILH. “It’s not just about breast cancer, it’s about breast wellness.”

What is a breast care navigator?

Another standout feature of the Peterson Family Breast Center is its on-site breast navigator, a dedicated individual who helps initiate and coordinate follow-up specialist care if imaging suggests a suspicious lesion, or cancer care if a diagnosis is confirmed.

“The navigator takes away the legwork from patients,” explains Howland, who is also a mammography technologist. “Her role is to take some anxiety off of the patient’s plate.  It really elevates the standard of care.”

The team hopes that the convenience of the Peterson Family Breast Center’s location coupled with its many amenities will entice women to come in for their preventive exams, especially those women who might otherwise put off undergoing necessary routine mammograms.

“We’re offering a level of concierge medicine. From our first interaction and onward, we will help patients along their journeys,” Howland says. “We understand that for most women, mammograms are pretty high-stress exams. Our staff is dedicated to making the experience pleasant and easy.”

“Getting a mammogram is never fun, but we’re surrounding women with a much-enhanced experience and attempting to alleviate as much stress as possible,” adds Suzy Quinn, Executive Director of the Inova Loudoun Hospital Foundation.

Peterson family’s gift brings new breast center to life

Thanks to a $1 million gift from the Peterson Family Foundation, Inova’s idea for a breast center came to fruition far more quickly than otherwise might have been possible.

The Petersons’ donation — part of $10 million bequeathed to Inova — spurred development of the new Inova Schar Cancer Institute – Peterson Family Breast Center at Inova Loudoun Hospital (ILH). “The generous support of the Peterson family played a catalytic role in this project, helping us get further faster,” says Ms. Quinn. “The Peterson family has been a major supporter of Inova, and their leadership is part of the reason our Life with Cancer® program has grown.”

A longtime real estate developer, Milt Peterson is founder and chairman of Peterson Companies. Headquartered in Northern Virginia, the firm has developed thousands of acres of land for residential, retail and office parks, including some of the most-recognized projects in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

The Peterson family’s gift was part of Inova Loudoun’s $20 million fundraising campaign, the largest in the hospital’s 100-year history.

“Philanthropy takes any system that is good to the next level,” says Lauren Peterson, Milt’s daughter. “We are proud to be one of those people. This community deserves the best care, and we are really happy to be on this journey with Inova.”

Mammogram appointments in Leesburg, VA

Request an appointment online at the Peterson Family Breast Center at or call 703-858-6470.

1 Comment

  1. Catherine Greene on January 18, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    For all the hype here I had a horrid experience. The tech caused me to have intense pain and when I protested she declared, “it has to hurt”. I was in tears and shaking all over by the time this woman was through with me. For the record, another young lady had done the procedure several times with no problems. I’ve never had a worse experience in a medical setting in my 56 years. Will never go back to this

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