Screening guidelines for average risk women (no symptoms, no history of prior breast cancer, no family history of breast cancer in a first degree relative, and no history of prior chest radiation) include annual clinical breast exam beginning at age 25. Imaging screening includes annual mammogram at age 40. This may be supplemented with a screening breast ultrasound, particularly if the breasts are dense. Patients are informed if their breasts are dense (per NY state legislation guidelines,) so that they can discuss with their physician if supplemental imaging screening is indicated.
High risk women include those with a family history of first-degree relative with breast cancer, history of atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ (benign conditions associated with increased breast cancer risk), or history of chest wall radiation. Screening in this high risk group includes annual mammography starting 10 years before the youngest family member was diagnosed, and may also include annual breast ultrasound and MRI. Often the mammogram and ultrasound are done together, and the MRI is done 6 months later so that high-risk patients are followed with close imaging surveillance. These tests are usually followed by clinical breast exam every 6 months. Recommendations for optimal surveillance will be made by your clinical team as well as the dedicated breast radiologists.
These advanced radiology services are offered at four locations (White Plains Hospital, White Plains Center for Advanced Medicine & Surgery, Armonk and New Rochelle), with early morning and evening appointments for ease of scheduling. To help alleviate any anxiety associated with testing, patients are given the option to wait for the results of screening tests the same day. Imaging is done by our kind and compassionate staff, and interventional procedures are explained in detail in advance. Abnormal results are communicated both to the patient and the referring physician in a timely fashion, to ensure continuity of care and appropriate follow-up.
Learn more about mammograms and breast cancer genetic risks.
Breast cancer screening
While many women with breast cancer have a family history, only 5 to 10% of breast cancer cases are due to hereditary gene mutations. Genetic testing may be recommended if several members of your family in different generations have had breast or other forms of cancer. Other reasons to pursue genetic testing are if your cancer was diagnosed at a young age (under 50), you had breast cancer in both breasts, or your breast cancer is triple negative (meaning it is negative for estrogen, progesterone, and Her2 receptors.)
At White Plains Hospital our trained genetic counselors will take a complete personal and family history to help determine if genetic testing is indicated, and if so, which test to send. The test itself is usually a blood test, and the results come back in 2 weeks. Our counselors will help you to interpret results, and also give you detailed information on screening guidelines if you do turn out to have a genetic mutation. This information is also communicated to your primary physician. It is important to remember that genetic testing cannot definitively say whether you will actually develop breast cancer, but rather it is a tool to help guide risk assessment so that your treatment team can follow you appropriately.
Learn more about our breast genetic screening.
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