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When and Why You Should be Screened for Breast Cancer?

When and Why You Should be Screened for Breast Cancer?

Local Physician Provides Latest Medical Information at Free Online Seminar

Getting your routine breast cancer screening is among the most important steps you can take to lower your likelihood of death from breast cancer. Breast X-rays, called mammograms, can identify breast tissue abnormalities and signs of breast cancer early, before it has spread to any other area. The five-year relative survival rate of localized breast cancer is in fact high, at 99 percent.

Presenting the latest science on how breast cancer is detected through mammography and when screening for breast cancer is recommended, Bettina Kurkjian, MD, FACOG, will be featured in an online Health & Wellness Seminar hosted by Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS). The seminar, titled “Breast Cancer Screenings: When and Why,” will take place on July 26, 2022, at 3:30 p.m., and can be viewed on Facebook and YouTube. There will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions on Facebook during the presentation, or to submit questions in advance by emailing them to communityoutreach@whhs.com.

“Dr. Kurkjian is an expert in obstetrics and gynecology, who has spent decades providing women with the highest level of preventive care and treatment,” says Christine Mikkelsen, RN, a certified breast health navigator at Washington Hospital’s Women’s Center. “In the July 26 seminar, she will explain the risk factors that make breast cancer screening so important, and the advantages of state-of-the-art 3D mammography for detecting irregularities in breast tissue that may warrant additional testing.”

In the U.S., women are diagnosed with breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except skin cancer. It is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women after lung cancer. And as women age, their chance of contracting breast cancer increases. That said, Mikkelsen reminds us that the earlier cancer is detected, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful. “With knowledge comes power. The good news is that breast cancer screenings can decrease the number of women diagnosed with difficult-to-treat, late-stage cancer, and increase the life expectancy of those diagnosed with breast cancer,” she says.

At the Women’s Center, Mikkelsen provides information and training to patients, and helps them access the center’s many services. “Even routine screenings can be stressful for some people. My role is to help make patients’ experience at the center as comfortable as possible. If something irregular is seen in the X-rays, I discuss with the patient what additional imaging studies or diagnostic procedures she may need, and help her set up follow-up appointments.”

“With our digital mammography capacity, the Women’s Center is able to provide patients with a powerful diagnostic tool. Our 3D mammogram creates a three-dimensional image from multiple scans taken at different angles. The radiologist then has more information with which to make an assessment,” she explains. 3D mammography lessens the likelihood that a patient will have to return for additional imaging because the initial image is clear and detailed (even with very dense breast tissue) and can be magnified and optimized as the radiologist needs.

Mammograms have the potential to detect breast cancer sometimes as early as three years before a physical lump in the breast can be felt. Mikkelsen notes, “Although there are some cancers that aren’t detected through screening, mammograms are the best chance we have of finding breast tumors before they are detectable clinically.” In her seminar, Dr. Kurkjian will discuss what happens during a mammogram appointment, and how this safe and quick exam saves lives.

For more information about the seminar, “Breast Cancer Screenings: When and Why,” watch here. To view this or other archived seminars, visit the Washington Hospital InHealth YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/whhsinhealth. To learn more about the upcoming free seminars, visit https://www.whhs.com/~/events/. More information about Washington Hospital’s Women’s Center can be found at www.whhs.com/WomensCenter.

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