Many people have asked about my thoughts on mammograms and breast care, so here is what I do for my patients.
First, if you have no idea if you have any family history of breast cancer or if you know people in your family who have died from breast cancer, get a genetic test to determine your level of risk. This can also be done on younger children and is a good idea. If you need to get tested, your kids probably do as well.
As far as standard testing goes, I am not a fan of traditional mammograms. Yes, there is radiation; however, I am more concerned that the technology is not as good as MRI. MRI can detect many more things than mammograms can.
There are 2 ways of doing a breast MRI, and I recommend starting WITHOUT the dye for those of us that do not have a high risk.
The sensitivity is much higher, especially if you have breast implants, as the MRI can show leaking and other implant issues that could lead to removal.
If you see something on the MRI, depending on what we think it might be, then do either a gadolinium MRI or an iodine-based Contrast-Enhanced Spectral Mammography. Both of these options use a dye, and I am not excited about dye; however, I am much less excited about breast cancer. In this case, it is worth the risk.
Several things can be done to reduce the chances of getting breast or any cancer; however, assessing your specific risk is critical.
Too many women, and some men, end up with serious issues simply because they were never told to look.
The numbers are typically low when I ask women how often they do self-exams. Do your family a favor and get checked. We need you to stay healthy, so take a moment and get checked.
Dr. Matt Chalmers
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. Before taking any action based on this information you should first consult with your physician or health care provider. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions regarding a medical condition, your health or wellness.