Updated: Friday, 04 Jan 2013, 9:30 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 03 Jan 2013, 7:00 AM EST
Grand Rapids, Mich (WOTV) - If you're looking for information on breast cancer, we've went straight to the experts at West Michigan OB/GYN . Dr. Andrew Van Slooten shares some great information that every woman should know. Read on to find out more about breast cancer screenings.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United Stated (lung cancer is the first). One of every eight women will develop breast in their lifetime. The goal of breast cancer screening is to detect breast cancer when it is early enough to have a significant impact on cure and disease free survival time (for those who do have breast cancer recurrence later). Breast cancer discovered when the tumor is one centimeter or less in size is associated with a 90% disease free interval for at least the next ten years following initial surgical treatment, and many are cured for life.
The three elements of breast cancer screening are breast imaging (primarily mammogram), clinical breast exam (with a health care provider such as physician or nurse practitioner), and patient breast self awareness through manual and visual self inspection. Mammogram is proven to detect breast cancers earlier than they can be felt by either patients or health care providers. Depending on the age group, mammograms may detect cancers 2-4 years before they can be detected on physical exam. This “head start” is less in younger patients as breast cancers tend to be more aggressive. The recommended age of onset for mammograms in average risk women is 40, with yearly screening there after.
In 2009, some confusion was caused by a public statement by the United States Preventative Services Task Force, recommending that mammograms start at age 50 and be done every 2 years thereafter. Most of the national medical societies have disagreed with the data analysis used for these recommendations, and advise the screening onset and intervals mentioned above (including the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, the American Cancer Society, The National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and the National Cancer Institute).
Some women may have concerns about radiation exposure with mammograms. The radiation exposure with current film and digital mammograms has never been shown to cause any long term health risks for women. Breast ultrasound is sometimes useful in evaluating inconclusive mammogram findings, or in evaluating those women with dense breasts.
Some women may be at higher risk for breast cancer based on menstrual/reproductive history, family history, dense breast tissue, and other factors. These factors may indicate the need for earlier onset and more frequent mammograms, as well as the addition of other imaging techniques like breast MRI and tomosynthesis (a modified digital mammogram helpful in evaluating dense breasts).
You should talk to you physician about your personal history and the possibility that you may be at increased risk for breast cancer.
For more information visit West MIchigan OB/GYN's website: http://www.westmichiganobstetrics.com/
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