By Alia Abdulla D.O. Surgical Oncologist at Broward Health
September 20 2021 – Breast cancer remains the most common cancer diagnosis for women after non-melanoma skin cancer, and it continues to be the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. According to a 2021 study by the American Cancer Society it is estimated that more than 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 49,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S.
These numbers are likely to be even higher as many women have delayed regular healthcare screenings due to the pandemic. A National Institute of Health study shows an alarming decline of nearly 60% in mammogram screenings last year. As a physician, I am concerned that prolonged delays in screenings will lead to a surge in later-stage cancer diagnosis.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, women should educate themselves and understand what to expect in breast health. There is no question that early detection, whether it’s breast cancer or other cancers, saves lives. We all must be in tune with our own bodies.
Screenings The American Cancer Society recommends women between 45 to 54 years of age schedule an annual mammogram, and those between 40 and 44, should do so if they wish to. Women 55 and older may decide to schedule mammograms every two years or can continue annually. Scheduling a mammogram can be lifesaving. Often, women with breast cancer do not have any physical symptoms, including pain. Detecting breast cancer early, before it has spread to the lymph nodes or elsewhere, dramatically increases a woman’s chance of a full recovery. In contrast, advanced breast cancer requires more intensive treatments and leads to higher mortality rates.
In terms of detection, we’ve come a long way. Advanced radiation oncology equipment and the latest technology for early detection of breast cancers is available, including digital mammography, sensory suites, contrast-enhanced mammography and Tomosynthesis. These innovative tools enable physicians and clinicians to better pinpoint breast cancer and design a customized treatment plan.
It is helpful to be aware of the technology available. As an example, technicians at Broward Health use:
- SmartCurve™ paddles with 2D and 3D technology, which provides radiologists with a clearer image and gives the patient a more comfortable experience since the paddle mimics the shape of a breast.
- The 128 Multi-Slice CT Scanner detects cancer and other conditions early with unprecedented image quality.
- A magnetic seed localization device allows for greater accuracy and optimal results, helping to locate and remove even the smallest of lesions with unprecedented precision while facilitating the best cosmetic results and a better patient experience.
- The CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System, designed to treat tumors with pin-point accuracy, minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue and providing a pain-free, non-invasive alternative surgery.
Personalized Breast Cancer Treatments
Most importantly, should treatment be required, you want a multidisciplinary medical team. At Broward Health, a team of physicians, surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, reconstructive surgeons and other specialists pool their expertise to provide each patient with a personalized treatment approach. Nurses are specially trained to provide care to oncology patients and are certified in cancer care through the Oncology Nursing Society. Patients should have access to a full range of support services including integrative oncology specialists within rehabilitative medicine, social work, nutritional specialists, palliative medicine and behavioral health.
Now is the time to take care of your body. Together we can beat cancer. Make your appointment today. For more information, visit BrowardHealth.org/BeatCancer or call 954-888-3453.