Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 9, 2023
Kathryn M. Coombes, M.D.
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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a good time to check with your primary care physician to see if you are a candidate for screening.

Perhaps you are wondering, “How do I know if I am a candidate?”

There are many societies that help physicians determine when our patients are ready for screening.  Factors that help us determine your risk are family history of breast, ovarian, or colon cancers; personal history of breast or ovarian cancer; your heritage; and gene mutations.

Without any high-risk factors, you are considered average risk.  Most physicians agree to begin screening at 40 years old. (This agrees with recent data provided by the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging.)  Your doctor may also recommend having an ultrasound completed. Ultrasound is usually helpful in women who have dense breast tissue.

Those at higher risk may be recommended to have annual Breast MRI and mammogram.

Additionally, it is important to member that males too, can suffer from breast cancer. There is no screening for men unless they are carriers of the genetic mutation BRCA 1/2.

Maybe you share similar fears as other females, that getting a mammogram will confirm what you have dreaded: Cancer. These are normal fears related to undergoing this testing. Wondering, “what if they find something? Then what!?”  Our hope is that screening regularly (one time yearly for the general average risk population) will allow us to find concerning spots early. Your physician will guide you through the next steps and answer all your questions.

Curious about getting your screening started? Reach out to your primary care doctor to review your history and find your nearest imaging center.