RANDY HICKS, MD: Radiation therapy – The controversy regarding screening mammography
During a recent The Breast of Everything podcast, Breast Surgeon Linsey Gold, DO; talked with Radiologist Randy Hicks, MD; about questions women are asking regarding mammography screenings and the use of technology in detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages. Dr. Hicks is co-founder and co-director of Regional Medical Imaging, serving physicians and patients throughout mid-Michigan and southern Michigan for the past 35 years.
There is a lot of controversy regarding screening mammography – when to do it, who should do it and how it should be done. As a result, women often are confused and don’t know where to turn for credible, consistent and accurate answers. Dr. Hicks and his team of radiologists believe women should have a baseline mammogram at age 35 and then yearly screening mammograms beginning at age 40. The American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology agree on this. Risk stratification increasingly is becoming key in the detection of breast cancer, Dr. Hicks finds. Each woman has her own individual risk factors for breast cancer and every woman should be aware of what they are.
The “one size fits all” model no longer works when it comes to screenings and treatment for breast cancer.
A woman’s breast density also is an important factor for physicians and patients to know, Dr. Hicks points out. The denser the breasts, the harder it is to identify cancer. About 25 percent of women have dense breasts and about 50 percent of those cancers are missed in a mammogram. However, “we have other technologies we can use to see through the density,” Dr. Hicks assures patients. These are: 3D mammography, whole breast screening ultrasound, contrast enhanced mammography, nuclear medicine and screening breast MRI.
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