Waxahachie, Texas -
Dr. Valerie Gorman of the Waxahachie, TX based Texas Breast Center recently published an article detailing the process of breast cancer screening and diagnosis. By informing the community about the various factors involved in such screenings, Dr. Gorman hopes to put to rest any fears or misgivings anyone might have about getting screened. In turn, she hopes this will increase the number of people getting screened and thus make it so that the few who do discover they have breast cancer are able to get treated early. The final result Dr. Gorman hopes to achieve is vastly improved rates of successful treatment among breast cancer patients.
“No one is excited to get a mammogram or go through other breast cancer screening tests,” Dr. Gorman says. “However, keeping on top of breast health and regular screening can be life-saving. The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcome is more likely to be. Keeping on top of regular breast self-checks, yearly mammograms and annual physicals can help increase the chances of finding breast cancer in the early stages. That is to say, mammograms and self-checks will not increase the chances of a diagnosis but of early detection of the disease should it occur. These are three possible first steps in a potential breast cancer diagnosis.”
Self-checks are one of the easiest ways for a person to stay informed about the health of their own breasts. They can be performed at home at any time and cost nothing while still being a highly effective way of identifying breast cancer or any other breast related issues. They are to be done at least once a month if possible, especially in cases where the individual meets a high number of risk factors. If performed regularly, they also make it possible to become very familiar with the feel and appearance of the breasts, which makes it even easier to identify any changes. The article lays out the self-check process in great detail and explains exactly what an individual should look for during a self-examination.
Dr. Gorman’s article also talks about clinical breast exams. It says, “A clinical breast exam is part of the standard physical. It is a breast exam performed by your doctor, in which they will physically examine and feel each breast to feel for any changes or lumps in the tissue. The clinical breast exam becomes particularly relevant if you are at high risk of breast cancer or have noticed changes in your breasts during a breast self-examination. Raise any concerns with your physician so they can help you and discuss any necessary next steps. It is not as simple as finding a lump and having doctors diagnose breast cancer. Should something be found during these exams, your doctor will likely send you to get a mammogram or ultrasound.”
Another way to screen for breast cancer is to receive regular mammograms. A screening mammogram (or mammography) is an X-ray of the breast that is taken using low doses of radiation. The breast is placed between two plates at different angles to get multiple digital images which a radiologist can then use to identify any abnormalities, including breast cancer. People with particularly dense breast tissue or scar tissue will sometimes have false positives, as will those with cysts and other benign growths, but a mammogram is still an excellent way to discover if a patient has breast cancer or not.
The article also recommends ultrasounds. A breast ultrasound involves the use of sound waves to produce a detailed picture of the breast tissue, and it is a great alternative for those who cannot get a mammogram for any reason. Ultrasound scans are good at differentiating phenomena like cysts from solid masses and can also give accurate locations of tumors, which helps doctors in the event that they need to perform a biopsy for further investigation.
Anyone looking for more information on how breast cancer is diagnosed may read Dr. Valerie Gorman’s article. She talks about a number of other methods of screening in addition to the above, including MRI scans and more. For more information of breast cancer screening particulars, Dr. Gorman has written about that previously, and the article can be found on her site as well. Patients may also visit the Waxahachie breast health center for a comprehensive breast health screening and treatment experience.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
Valerie J. Gorman, MD, FACS, is a surgeon of oncology and diseases of the breast. She is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and serves as Chief of Surgery and Medical Director of Surgical Services at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center.
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