Breast Cancer Screening – What Every Woman Needs to Know

Did you know that every woman has a 1 in 8 chance of getting breast cancer? It’s a scary statistic. However, breast cancer prevention and treatment and has come a long way. In my practice we have many young patients in their 20’s and 30’s with breast cancer, so it’s not just an older person’s disease. On the bright side, there are new screening tools that help increase the chance of early detection.pink-ribbon

Stay on Top of Your Breast Health:

  1. Do a breast self-exam (learn how at cancer.org)
  2. Get yearly mammograms, after the age of 40 (covered by insurance!)
  3. Know your family’s health history and share the information with your gynecologist. Having a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer almost doubles a woman’s risk. However, most (over 85%) of women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of this disease.

If you have a history of cancer in your family, genetic testing (in addition to mammograms) is recommended, even if you are in your 20’s.

The Genetic Link – New Screening Tests Could Save Your Life!

New advances in gene therapy have led researchers to identify the genetic codes for breast cancer genes. You may have heard or read about these genes, named BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Having one or both of these genes indicates an increased risk (as high as 4 in 5) of getting breast and ovarian cancer.

womanIf You are BRCA-Positive

Women who are BRCA-positive may opt for a mastectomy before they ever get breast cancer rather than face a lifetime of worry. Fortunately there are now new techniques for breast reconstruction that have made prophylactic mastectomy a more attractive option.

Cassileth One-Stage Breast Reconstruction technique was designed with the needs of these women in mind. This unique procedure allows women to wake up from their surgery with new, beautiful breasts.  In fact, many of our patients say they like their new breasts even better than the ones they were born with!

See the amazing before and after photos at drcassileth.com.

We want to know: if you tested positive for the BRCA gene, would you choose to have a preventative mastectomy? Or would you opt to wait and see and decide later? We’d love to hear from you. Post your response in the comments below.

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