Take command of health care to combat breast cancer early

Carol Kahn
5 Min Read

One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. While early detection can help save lives, it is recommended that women do monthly breast self-exams and schedule regular mammograms.

Dr. Deborah Lindquist is a board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist with the Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare.

Dr. Deborah Lindquist, a board-certified oncologist and hematologist with the Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare, answered questions about breast cancer prevention and health care.

🔴 Question: How should women take command of their health care?

🔵 Lindquist: Each woman can take charge of their health by knowing the information they need to make the best choices. If they don’t know where to start, they can select a trusted relative or friend to help them gather information, someone who has personal knowledge of the health care system and will be honest with the patient about the choices available.

Google may not be the best place to get information, although it can be used as a starting point. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network is a free resource that can be accessed online. NCCN is a nonprofit alliance of 33 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research and education.

🔴 Question: Are there any changes in breast health care?

🔵 Lindquist: There is so much research into circulating tumor DNA now, which is fascinating. This can be done for patients with larger, or node-positive tumors, and can presage whether the patient will relapse. Studies are being done now to see if altering the treatment as soon as a positive ctDNA [result] is known will potentially allow for longer survival or even a cure. Also, molecular profiling of tumors that have metastasized gives us more options for treatment. Immunotherapy, combined with chemotherapy, has made profound improvements for women with triple-negative breast cancer, allowing us to see success in a high percentage of patients.

🔴 Question: Can women ask to meet a radiologist to discuss their mammogram results?

🔵 Lindquist: Asking is always an option, and some facilities do allow this.

If this is not an option, the primary provider can go over the report with the patient. We should never assume our test was negative without seeing the report.

🔴 Question: At what ages should women have regular mammograms?

🔵 Lindquist: I do see that women continue to get mammograms into their 70s and 80s.

Younger women are often diagnosed when they have a palpable mass, though they also can get more rapidly growing tumors that show up that way.

I think we rely heavily on primary providers to provide guidance to women about getting mammograms, and perhaps younger women don’t get routine physicals as regularly or have annual visits with primary care.

It is important for people who have an audience, such as the media, to help promote the importance of mammograms when it comes to women’s health.

We want to remind women aged 40 and older to schedule annual appointments with their primary care provider to discuss mammogram frequency and to follow the advice of their physician.

Early detection is the most effective and efficient tool to identify treatment options and increase long-term survival rates.

🔴 Question: Why is there a discrepancy in the younger population?

🔵 Lindquist: I do feel younger women may be so focused on their families, partners and work, that they forget to take care of themselves.

I like the advice, “Take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.” Everyone should have an annual physical or meeting with a primary provider to ensure that they are keeping up with their health care needs.

For more information, speak with your primary care physician or visit:

🔷 The National Comprehensive Cancer Network at nccn.org

🔷 The National Breast Cancer Foundation at nationalbreastcancer.org

🔷 The Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare at nahealth.com/cancer-centers

Carol Kahn www.redrocknews.com County News,Sedona News

2023-08-24 17:00:00 , Sedona Red Rock News

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