What Happens at a Breast Center

Aug 18, 2015

Dr. Ellen Abeln, F.A.C.R. and Medical Director of The Breast Center of Suburban Imaging, discusses what happens at a breast center and reviews the recommendations for screening mammography.


"The way a breast center works, is we see the patients who have any kind of breast symptom. And we have two major jobs:
1: Is that symptom a sign of breast cancer and if it is, we want to figure that out right away - today. And if need be, we want to do a biopsy as soon as possible to reduce the time, the waiting and the anxiety.
2: Manage anxiety because a lot of patients are very anxious when they come to The Breast Center.

And then when patients are diagnosed with breast cancer, we're able to turn them over to wonderful teams of doctors and nurses. The first person you would see would be a surgeon. And then usually there's a consultation with a medical oncologist, and a radiation oncologist. At some point you might meet with a geneticist.

Most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer do very well. It's a scary diagnosis, but there are well-qualified people out there to take care of you. So I would encourage you to talk to your doctor about whether screening mammography is right for you.

The recommendations from the American Cancer Society are that you start screening mammography at age 40 and have a mammogram every year. You would start earlier if there are other risk factors in your family. And it's important to know that most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer don't have any risk factors other than they're female and their age.

We have to remind our patients that just because nobody in their family has every had breast cancer doesn't make you immune to developing it, and that's why we recommend the screening mammography every year."

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