MAMMOGRAMS SAVE LIVES
When detected early, breast cancer survival rates are very high. For example, the five-year survival rate for Stage I breast cancer is 98.9 percent. That makes regular screening mammograms one of the most important things you can do for your health, so make them a priority.
If you’re at average risk of breast cancer, Shari Siegel-Goldman, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at Montefiore Nyack Hospital, recommends having an annual screening from age 40 on. If you’re at high risk because of family history or for other reasons, your doctor may recommend additional supplemental screening with ultrasound or MRI. (Scroll down to learn more about factors that determine risk.)
Dr. Siegel-Goldman shares these important tips:
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Understand your personal risk and screening eligibility.
- Don’t wait until you feel a lump. Early-stage cancers often can be detected only by a mammogram. “We sometimes see women who wait until they feel a lump in their breast before coming in for mammography,” says Dr. Siegel-Goldman. “If it turns out to be cancer, we know we could have found it earlier if they had come in for screening on a yearly basis.”
- Don’t skip a year. An annual mammogram is needed to increase the chances of finding a cancer when it’s small and easier to treat.
- Don’t be afraid of “finding something.” Many women avoid screenings because they fear a cancer diagnosis. But keep in mind that fewer than 1 in 10 women who are called back for more tests after a screening are found to have cancer. And the earlier a cancer is detected, the more treatable it is. “If cancer is found,” says Dr. Siegel-Goldman, “our care team will be beside you every step of the way.”
Who’s at Increased Risk?
Although 75 percent of breast cancer patients have no family history of the disease, some factors are known to increase risk. You’re at higher risk if:
- You’ve had a prior biopsy with high-risk findings
- A close family member has had breast cancer (parent, sibling or child)
- You have one of the breast cancer genes (i.e., BRCA 1 or 2).
If none of the above apply, then you’re at average risk for breast cancer. Learn more about your personal risk by taking our Quick Quiz.
8 Ways to Protect Your Breasts
LOOK TO US FOR THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY
At The Breast Center at Montefiore Nyack Hospital, we offer the full range of screening services. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained radiologists have access to the most sophisticated technology to help them detect breast cancer at its earliest stages. Learn more about our screening services below.
- 3D Mammography, also known as 3D Tomosynthesis, uses multiple X-rays to create a 3D image of the breast. It’s the most advanced imaging available for breast cancer detection at the lowest possible radiation dose. 3D mammography is more effective than traditional 2D mammography in detecting cancers earlier and decreases the need for women to be called back for additional testing. This type of mammogram is very good for women with dense breasts, which can make it harder for the radiologist reading the test to see a cancer.
- Breast Ultrasound uses sound waves to make images. It’s used on its own or in combination with mammograms to provide additional detail about an area. “Ultrasound can find small cancers not found on mammograms,” says Shari Siegel-Goldman, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at Montefiore Nyack Hospital.
- Breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) expands our ability to diagnose early-stage breast cancers that may not be visible on mammography or ultrasound. It’s a highly sensitive exam that uses radio waves and powerful magnets to create detailed images of breast tissue. “We recommend that women with a very strong family history of breast cancer, or who have a breast cancer gene, alternate between an MRI and a mammogram every six months,” says Dr. Siegel-Goldman.
The Breast Center has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. The Breast Center received this designation in all programs, including mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast ultrasound and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy. Only a small percentage of imaging centers receive this designation of excellence.
To schedule a screening mammogram, you need a referral from your primary care provider (PCP). If you don’t already have a PCP, you may wish to choose one affiliated with Montefiore Nyack Hospital. View our providers.