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.
Dr. Stamatia Destounis talks with Deanna Dewberry from Channel 13 News about the mammography guideline debate.