For many women, combining a screening mammogram with a clinical breast exam every year is their best tool for early diagnosis and survival of breast cancer. For many others, there are new advancements in breast cancer screening that can provide additional layers of detection that can help save lives.
Over the last 10 years, The Breast Center at Floyd has continued to explore and invest in new technologies. Breast MRI, 3D mammography and genetic testing are examples of newer technologies available at The Breast Center at Floyd.
“Breast cancer screening is an ever-evolving process,” said Aimee Griffin, Director of The Breast Center at Floyd. “There is a tremendous amount of research and development around how to best screen women for this disease, and we consider it our responsibility to northwest Georgia to stay informed and provide access to these improved testing options.
“For example, 3D mammography is very useful if a woman has very dense breast tissue,” added Griffin. “A routine mammogram has long been the most effective screening option for women, but the 3D screening option has greatly improved our ability to find very small cancers, even in very dense tissue.”
Understanding personal and family risk factors is also a key tool to improving breast cancer screening. The Breast Center at Floyd’s Breast Health Clinic specializes in assessing risk and helping patients design the best screening program based on their personal risk factors. Nurse practitioners Karen Craig, LaDonna Holcomb, Joy McGee and Alisha Green work with women (and some men) whose lifetime risk for breast cancer spans from average risk to very high risk. For those patients who have an elevated risk, adding additional screening tools, such as breast MRI, to their yearly mammogram can help improve detection.
Genetics can also play a role in the chances of getting breast cancer, and the nurse practitioner team at The Breast Center at Floyd was specially trained in clinical cancer genetics by City of Hope, a national leader in cancer research and genetics.
“Women and men need to be aware if there is a family history of breast cancer, but also of other types of cancer,” Griffin said. “Understanding if you or your family has an inherited genetic risk can help you take action to reduce your risk and improve your cancer screening strategies, and cancer genetics has progressed far beyond just breast cancer risk. Testing is now available to help individuals understand the risk around many types of cancer.”
You should consider genetic counseling and genetic testing if you or your family history includes any of the following:
- Breast cancer diagnosed at age 50 or younger
- Male breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body
- Colon or uterine cancer at age 50 or younger
- Three or more close relatives on the same side of the family with any combination of breast cancer and prostate cancer
- Three or more close relatives on the same side of the family with colon or uterine cancer
Genetic testing is done most often using a saliva swab. In some cases, blood has to be drawn.
The Breast Center at Floyd also promises “Know in 24,” which provides results of mammograms within 24 hours.
For more information or to make an appointment with a nurse practitioner, call The Breast Center at Floyd at 706.509.6840.