No Need to Quarantine Your Screening Mammogram
Every October, without fail, we see lots of PINK! For most of us the pink ribbon is synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), but do you know its origins? The first awareness month was in 1985, headed by Betty Ford after her breast cancer diagnosis, although the pink ribbon wasn’t specifically associated with the cause until 1992 when Estee Lauder handed out nearly two million ribbons to draw attention to the importance of breast health.
Awareness month in 2020 will be different, with the walks and events transitioning to virtual activities. Breast Cancer Awareness Month will have the same purpose nonetheless — to encourage involvement in the fight against breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Awareness is as important as it has ever been, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some women are postponing their cancer screenings, including breast cancer screening. Women are faced with the decision of postponing annual mammography screening to avoid potential exposure to the virus. While many of us rightfully delay mammograms due to immediate COVID-related concerns, medical imaging centers have resumed offering mammograms and are taking all possible steps to keep patients safe.
Knowing all the facts is crucial when making this decision, as postponing routine screening does pose health risks. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women (except for skin cancers) and is one of the most treatable forms of cancer when detected early. Performing routine, annual screening mammography plays an integral role in the early detection of breast cancer, as women diagnosed with early breast cancer (when the cancer is small and has not spread) have a high chance of survival. Delays in screening can lead to delays in diagnoses leading to more advanced cancers and more invasive treatment options. The risk of developing cancer doesn’t go away just because there is a pandemic.
It’s smart to be cautious, but mammography saves lives. Check with your mammogram provider about safety protocols they have in place, but don’t put it off. If you are a woman age 40 or older — National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a perfect time to schedule your yearly mammogram appointment.
The pink lights are on at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, so don’t hesitate to keep your appointment, or reschedule one you may have missed. It’s about women making their health a top priority and that means keeping up with annual screenings and taking charge of your breast health.
Our team of experienced breast imaging radiologists! Radiologists are doctors who have continued their education to complete a four-year residency in radiology. At Elizabeth Wende Breast Care (EWBC) we only have specialty-trained breast radiologists (versus general radiologists) who have also completed fellowships in breast imaging focusing on mammography and diagnostic breast procedures. Radiologists at our clinic only read breast imaging studies (versus other radiology studies).All the radiologists at EWBC are board certified by the American Board of Radiology.
At EWBC, two radiologists read your screening mammogram, giving you the advantage of two expert opinions. EWBC breast imaging specialists are dedicated to providing the highest level of quality imaging services to all patients and healthcare providers.
Make sure the most qualified radiologist will read your mammogram. Experience matters for the best breast care.
Elizabeth Wende Breast Care (EWBC) together with Cancer Services Program of the Finger Lakes Region (CSP-FLR) provide free screening mammograms and clinical breast exams for women 40 and over who do not have insurance. The program also pays for follow-up diagnostic exams if there is an abnormal finding during a screening.
EWBC is holding special Saturday screening days on October 17, 2020 and December 12, 2020 at the Brighton office. To schedule an appointment, call 585-442-2190. At this EWBC appointment expect social distancing and enhanced cleaning. If these special screening dates are not convenient, please call 585-442-2190 for additional dates.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women (after lung cancer). Yearly mammograms starting at age 40 is the best way to find breast cancer early — when it may be easier to treat. We hope to see you soon.
Exceptional care redesigned!
At EWBC you can expect social distancing, enhanced cleaning and same day results in a new way.
Patients are screened prior to and also at the time of their appointment. EWBC staff are screened daily. Everyone is required to wear a mask.
We have spread out appointment times and furniture to help with social distancing. Companions are asked to wait in their car to reduce the amount of people in the building.
Our team is deep cleaning on a continual basis throughout the day. Imaging equipment and exam rooms are disinfected after each patient as well as all waiting rooms, common areas and frequently touched surfaces.
Elizabeth Wende Breast Care continues to offer same day results. Patients can choose to receive messages by email or text.
Our patients and dedicated staff are adapting well to this new patient experience. One patient recently commented:
“The fact that we are going through COVID-19, the staff were very accommodating, extremely cautious with cleanliness, very friendly, and made the experience as a whole welcoming and comfortable!”
Breast Imaging — it’s all we do. We hope to see you soon!
During this uncertain time, when a typical face to face consult is not possible, our genetic counselor is available for appointments via teleconference.
You can safely participate in a virtual genetic counseling session from the comfort of your home. If you have a current appointment scheduled, our staff will reach out to you to discuss converting the appointment to a teleconference. If you prefer a more traditional in person consultation, we will certainly reschedule your visit until later this year.
If you have any questions, please call us at (585) 758-7041 or send a secure EWBC portal message to the Genetics/MRI Department and a staff member will reach out to you.
EWBC’s research department has been busy preparing to present data from our clinic at the biggest radiological conference of the year; the Radiological Society of North America 2019 Annual Meeting in Chicago December 1–6, 2019.
Dr. Destounis, on behalf of the research team, will proudly be presenting data supporting the benefits of screening breast ultrasound in an oral presentation entitled, “Is there value to screening breast ultrasound as a supplement to mammography in women at average risk in comparison to those with known risk factors?” The team examined data from screening ultrasound and screening mammogram appointments in women with dense breast tissue over a four-year period, dividing the data by patients with one or more known risk factors (family history, hormone replacement therapy, etc.) and those without known risk factors. The study found screening ultrasound in patients with known risk factors detected a substantial number of cancers not seen on mammography (3.2/1000 additional cancers); 1.4/1000 cancers were detected in patients with no known risk factors.
These results support that goal of screening, and the use of screening ultrasound, in detecting additional malignancies previously undetected by screening mammography. Finding cancer early when it is small allows patients to have less invasive and less intensive treatments with the highest success rates.
Dr. Destounis and the EWBC research team have published past studies and articles which also support the use of screening ultrasound, but this study more clearly expresses that screening breast ultrasound is beneficial for all women with dense breasts, with or without known risk factors. At Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, we give the option of screening ultrasound to all patients who have mammographically dense breast tissue regardless of the presence of additional risk factors, or lack thereof. As a patient here at EWBC, if you are informed that you have dense breast tissue, you are one of the almost 50% of women – ask us today for more information on the benefits of screening ultrasound.
The landscape of genetic testing for cancer susceptibility is changing rapidly. Today, testing via a cancer gene panel is commonplace. However, the size and clinical utility of those panels is expanding. It is important for you, with the help of your physician, to carefully consider which option is best for you. Panels can be as small as only including those breast cancer causing genes with associated management guidelines or as large as 80+ genes. The larger panels are often without clear-cut risk information and management guidelines as the data about specific genes is newly emerging.
The year 2020 will likely include dramatic changes both in panel size and technology. It will certainly be the year of new advances in the field of genetic testing. This new technology will improve both detection and interpretation and will be an exciting era for those of us in direct patient care. The soon to be approved testing will provide better sensitivity and clarity for a significant portion of patients with previously identified variants of unknown clinical significance.
Risk assessment models are a tool we use to predict your future risk of breast cancer. One tool has recently been refined and as a result, you will have access to a more personalized medical management plan. Risk assessment models are used on women who have no personal history of breast cancer. One such model, Tyrer-Cuzick version 8, now includes your breast density. A 5-year, 10 year and lifetime risk of breast cancer can be calculated. This provides you and your healthcare team with a valuable tool in navigating the sometimes-complex field of breast imaging and surveillance. If you’re a high risk patient with dense tissue, you are likely eligible for a screening ultrasound and MRI in addition to your yearly screening mammogram.
As always, genetic counseling can help you determine the best personal course of action. Am I candidate for genetic testing? Am I candidate for MRI? I was previously tested, do I need a larger panel? Will my insurance cover genetic testing?
If you have questions, please reach out to our Cancer Risk Assessment and Genetic Counseling office at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care. Our certified genetic counselor, Jessica Salamone and her staff would be happy to assist you. (585) 758-7041.
Elizabeth Wende Breast Care is proud to announce the opening of the Webster office at 55 Barrett Drive in early March 2020 for screening mammography and screening breast ultrasound for women with dense breasts. Appointments are being taken now online at portal.ewbc.com or by calling (585) 442-2190.
Dr. Stamatia Destounis talks with Deanna Dewberry from Channel 13 News about the mammography guideline debate.