Updates on Breast Cancer Diagnostic Modalities

Octobre: Le  Mois Du Cancer Du Sein / October ...
Image by “”Alia”” via Flickr

When I asked for guest blogger ideas I approached people who have been directly and indirectly impacted by breast cancer.  These thoughts are from a dear friend and medical sales representative who has worked closely over the years with  breast cancer treatment centers.  This guest blog is from Sharon Teter of Austin, Texas.

I think the biggest breakthroughs I saw are:

MRI of the breast. The hard thing for the patient is there are so many different types of MRIs out there and some do not provide good quality images.  The type of images needed to be as effective are found as the top quality systems at diagnosing and finding cancers the US.  A good quality MRI finds tumors that mammograms and even stereotactic biopsies do not find. A good MRI designed or dedicated for the breast can truly identify and find so much more.

This said not everyone needs an MRI either. High risk patients, patients that have something suspicious or have a stereotactic biopsy should have one.

Ultrasound technology is coming that can help diagnose the density and type of lesion or tumor and truly help identify cancer.  This will be huge and less costly that an MRI and will also help find cancers earlier.

While I am a firm believer in the genetic testing provided for high risk patients for breast and ovarian cancers, I want women to understand it doesn’t mean they will not get it and they still need annual mammography.  Many women opt for mastectomy if their BRCA 1 & 2 results are positive because the experts say if you are positive there is an 80% chance you will get a breast cancer.

There are so many factors why we get breast cancer and just because your negative for the genetic mutations does not mean you will not get it!!  I think the negative result is great, but it makes too many women think, why should I get my mammogram, I had the test a year ago and I don’t have the gene!  Do not use it as an excuse to not have a mammogram.  My friend, Carole, who writes this blog had a negative BRCA 1 & 2 and she had breast cancer.  It just means you don’t carry the genetic history that can cause breast and ovarian.  In fact more breast cancers come from the non-genetic side than the carrying the genetic mutation.   Don’t allow false hopes to ever stop you from your annual exam and your triple touch self-exam.

One last thing I have to say is this,  women should ask about the  surgical experience the doctor has in performing their biopsy.  Experience is of utmost importance.

I am not the best writer but hope you can find some value here to pass on. Thanks for asking me.

Sharon

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