Breast cancer screenings are not uniform for everyone, though. Instead, working with physicians who can assess your individual risk and recommended level of screening is key. Dr. Yazdi answers a few frequently asked questions concerning breast cancer screenings.
Should I have a mammogram?
The recommendations for screening mammography are somewhat controversial and an area of great debate. As a surgical oncologist specializing in breast surgery, I recommend a personalized approach. We look at factors such as family history, breast density and other risk factors to develop an individualized screening recommendation. For women with no risk factors it is appropriate to start between ages 40 and 45. Screening mammography is currently the best test available for the detection of breast cancer.
Did you know there are some women who may benefit from a higher level of screening?
High risk screening programs have been developed to customize breast cancer screening for a woman based upon her risk profile. Risk models have been developed to take into account the patient’s menstrual history, height, weight, age, family history as well as other factors. From this information, the patient’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer can be estimated. While the average woman has a risk of approximately 10 percent, if the lifetime risk is greater than 20 percent, they are then put into a higher risk category. This means they are more likely to get breast cancer.
For women determined to be at an increased risk, additional screening may be recommended. The screenings most commonly used include a breast MRI or possibly screening ultrasounds of the breast. This testing does not replace mammography, but is performed in addition to mammograms. With this screening program, your physician can catch cancers at an earlier stage, which tend to be more curable.
At Breast Care Consultants, the BJC Medical Group team customizes a patient screening program based upon her needs. During their ‘At Risk’ program, risk assessment and counseling are done. Paul Yazdi, MD, is a member of BJC Medical Group and is on staff at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. His practice is located at 3023 N. Ballas Road, Suite 675D, St. Louis, Mo., and can be reached at 314.996.7777.