Take It from a Radiologist: Don't Delay Your Mammogram

Mammograms save lives every day. Thanks to mammography and improvements in breast cancer treatment, the American Cancer Society estimates that more than 500,000 lives have been saved since 1989. By detecting cancer early through regular annual screenings, we can dramatically improve the patient outcomes.

All Women are at Risk

Fellowship-trained breast radiologist Amanda Squires, MD, is Parkwest Comprehensive Breast Center’s medical director. She reports, “All women are born with a 12.9 percent [1 in 8] chance of developing breast cancer in their life- time. Breast cancer strikes regardless of lifestyle or family history. Every woman is at risk and deserves the opportunity to identify an
abnormality at the earliest possible time.” Regular screenings and early detection allow a much improved prognosis in addition to fewer required interventions and less intensive treatment.

Dr. Squires in lab coat
Amanda Squires, MD, Radiologist

What to Expect at a Screening

Most mammogram appointments are very quick and easy. The caring staff consistently puts patients first when they come to the Center, and results are typically available within a few days at most. “Our entire staff is welcoming, calming and dedicated to the entirety of each patient’s well-being,” Dr. Squires  adds. “Each and every staff person in our Breast Center consistently goes above and beyond for our patients every single day.”

Expert, Thorough Care

When a possible abnormality is detected, the Breast Center staff walks each patient through the process of obtaining any needed additional information, explaining each step of the way.  Most of these ultimately prove to be completely benign. However, if an abnormality is found to be malignant, it is typically detected many years ahead of when the malignancy would have become clinically apparent. That is what makes preventive screenings one of the best early detectors of cancer.

On the Cutting Edge

“Perhaps most importantly, we all strive to stay at the cutting edge of technology and evolving medical knowledge,” Dr. Squires says. “We also own the entirety of the process to make  our patient’s lives as convenient as possible as they protect their health. We are able to independently manage a patient’s care from beginning to end. While we communicate frequently with our referring physicians, we simplify the process for our patients by being able to do what needs to be done without requiring them to go through additional appointments.”

The staff at the Breast Center works in conjunction with the referring physician, typically an OB/GYN or primary care doc- tor. However, no physician referral is required to get a screening
mammogram. To schedule a mammogram at the Parkwest Comprehensive Breast Center, call (865) 373-7010.

Determining Your Risk

group of women all dressed in pink.Parkwest Comprehensive Breast Center offers high quality services, an outstanding staff and the latest in screening technology. If an abnormality is detected, the Breast Center follows the
patient through all their testing and in some cases, treatment. In addition to imaging, the Parkwest Breast Center provides a service for those who come in for  their annual mammogram called a “Lifetime Breast Cancer Risk Assessment.” From that assessment, practitioners may recommend that certain patients who may be at a high risk of developing cancer seek genetic counseling and testing, especially if they have a family history of cancer.

All women are at risk of breast cancer; in fact, one in eight women will experience a diagnosis in their lifetime. Some women are at increased risk for various reasons. Recently, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology began recommending a formal risk assessment of all women at age 30 (or sooner, for those in very high-risk families). To ensure each
patient has an individualized care plan that is right for them, we have access to genetic counselors and laboratories for genetic testing at the Parkwest Breast Center specifically to help
identify patients at increased risk. All women are recommended to conduct an individual breast exam monthly. Beginning at age 20,  women should undergo a clinical breast exam at the time of their annual doctor visit. The American College of Radiology and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend annual screening mammograms for women every year beginning at age 40.

What is Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing can identify mutations in genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 that substantially increase the risk of breast or other cancers. The BRCA test can be saliva or blood, sent to a highly reputable genetic testing lab that provides a detailed report for each patient. The results take about two weeks.

A positive test result means that you have a mutation in one of the breast cancer genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2. Although the BRCA genes are the most common cause of gene-related breast and ovarian cancers, a positive result doesn’t mean you’re certain to develop cancer. The mutated gene can come from either parent.

Who Should Seek Genetic Testing?

People who are good candidates for any genetic testing, not limited to breast cancer, are young people, those with aggressive cancer and those with a family history of the disease.

About Parkwest Breast Center: Your First Choice for Breast Health

Gold seal of excellence from ACR.Parkwest Breast Center meets rigorous standards for staff training, technology and patient care, and is accredited as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. Full-time breast radiologist Amanda Squires, MD, is the Center’s medical director and is fellowship trained in women’s imaging. Having a radiologist on staff means mammography results can be given to women within 24 to 48 hours of the test.

The Breast Center is conveniently located at 9330 Park West Boulevard, Suite 103, in the Physicians Plaza. Call (865) 373-7010 to schedule an appointment, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit TreatedWell.com/breastcenter for more information.

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