Comprehensive, tailor-made breast cancer screening can save lives

Comprehensive, tailor-made breast cancer screening can save lives

For many women, combining a screening mammogram with a clinical breast exam every year is their best tool for the early detection and survival of breast cancer. For many, there are new advances in breast cancer screening that can provide additional detection levels that can help save lives.

For the past 10 years, the Floyd Breast Center has continued researching and investing in new technologies. Breast MRI, 3D mammography and genetic testing are examples of newer technologies available at the Breast Center in Floyd.

"Breast cancer screening is a constantly evolving process," said Aimee Griffin, director of the Floyd Breast Center. "There is a tremendous amount of research and development to find out how women can best be screened for this disease, and we see it as our responsibility to Northwest Georgia to stay informed and have access to these improved testing options.

"For example, 3D mammography is very useful when a woman has very dense breast tissue," Griffin added. "Routine mammography has long been the most effective screening option for women, but the 3D screening option has greatly improved our ability to detect very small cancers, even in very dense tissue."

Understanding personal and family risk factors is also a key tool for improving breast cancer screening. Floyd's Breast Health Clinic's Breast Center specializes in assessing risks and helping patients develop the best screening program based on their personal risk factors. The nurses Karen Craig, LaDonna Holcomb, Joy McGee and Alisha Green work with women (and some men) whose lifetime risk of breast cancer ranges from average to very high risk. In high-risk patients, additional screening tools such as breast MRI may contribute to annual mammography to improve detection.

Genetics may also play a role in the likelihood of developing breast cancer, and the sister practice team at the Floyd Breast Center has been trained by City of Hope, a national leader in cancer research and genetics, especially in clinical cancer genetics.

"Women and men need to be aware of whether there is breast cancer in the family, as well as other cancers," Griffin said. "If you or your family are genetically inherited, it can be helpful to take steps to reduce your risk and improve your cancer screening strategies, and cancer genetics has advanced well beyond the risk of breast cancer." Tests are now available to individuals to help understand the risk in many types of cancer. "

You should consider genetic counseling and genetic testing if OR of your family history includes any of the following:

Breast cancer diagnosed at the age of 50 or younger

Prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body

Colon or uterine cancer at the age of 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 tests are most often performed with a saliva swab. In some cases, blood must be taken.

Floyd's Breast Center also promises "Know in 24", which delivers results from mammograms within 24 hours.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a nurse, call the Floyd Breast Center at 706-509-6840.

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