October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Brett Parkinson, MD joined us to share how you can protect yourself with early detection. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide (1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer), yet Utah is among the lowest in the nation for mammography screening. If you’re a woman over 40, you should get a yearly mammogram. This important screening is crucial to catching breast cancer early.
Why are Mammograms So Important?
Mammograms can help detect cancer before you even feel a lump. Over the last 25 years there has been a 35-40 percent decrease in breast cancer deaths, due in large part to the widespread availability of screening mammography.
A mammogram only takes about 30 minutes and is easy to schedule.
The Benefits of Breast Care Centers
Intermountain Healthcare uses a Hub and Spoke model, which consists of screening centers that feed into a comprehensive Breast Care Center where they perform biopsies and treatment for breast cancer and other breast-related conditions.
Convenience: The benefit of this model is that screening mammograms and ultrasound testing can be performed at a convenient location near you with fast results (often same-day), as well as access to the state-of the art technology of a comprehensive Breast Care Center.
Coordinated Care: They use a coordinated care approach where multiple specialists are available to provide the best care possible. These include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiology oncologists, dietitians, social workers, genetic counselors, patient navigators, and nurses. The idea of a Breast Care Center is to organize these specialists into a coordinated, integrated approach for the benefit of the patient.
State-of-the-art Treatment: It also offers timely access to state-of-the-art screening, diagnostic, and definitive surgical care. A comprehensive line of support services is offered that include; digital mammography, breast ultrasound, physical therapy including lymphedema treatment, post-operative care, and bone density scans.
Here are six detection and treatment advancements that patients have access to with a Breast Care Center:
- 3D mammography is a type of mammogram that improves radiologists’ ability to detect breast cancers that may be obscured by overlying tissue. It is acquired along with a 2D digital mammogram, but only adds a few seconds to the overall exam time. It also reduces the number of women called back for additional tests.
- MRI, the most sensitive imaging exam in the detection of breast cancer, is reserved for women with a greater than 20–25 percent lifetime risk of developing the disease. It also is helpful in defining the extent of disease in women already diagnosed.
- Non-surgical, or image-guided needle biopsies have replaced open surgical biopsies in the diagnosis of breast cancer.
- Sentinel lymph node biopsies, performed at the time of surgery, allow surgeons to biopsy just one lymph node for diagnosis, instead of removing all of the axillary lymph nodes.
- Advances in pathological testing of tumor markers has greatly improved diagnostic accuracy, often determining which patients will benefit from chemotherapy and what sort of treatments may be most beneficial.
- Targeted chemotherapy personalizes the care for each patient, so they don’t receive more or less treatment than they need.
Intermountain Healthcare offers Mammograms at five convenient locations in the Salt Lake Valley. Call their hotline to schedule an appointment near you: (801) 507-7888.
Visit ldshospital.org/healthyliving for more information.
This story includes sponsored content.