Breast cancer care in 2023 is complex and evolving. While treatment options for breast cancer have advanced considerably in the past decade, disparities continue to impact equitable access to care, and with changing guidelines, some women may find it difficult to know when to begin screening and to fully understand their personal risk factors for the disease.
This October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, breast surgeons Ingrid Lizarraga, MBBS, FACS, and Katharine Yao, MD, FACS of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) are available to discuss the complexities of breast cancer care and how new standards from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) can help women take charge of their health to receive the best possible care.
“Breast awareness is important from an early age. Breast cancer in young women is rare, but it can happen. If you think, ‘That can’t happen to me,’ you may end up delaying a diagnosis or not receiving high-risk screening when you should.” –Ingrid Lizarraga, MBBS, FACS, Commission on Cancer and University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
This year, two new guidelines were issued affecting women and their decisions for breast care.
Takeaway message: Guidelines for when to begin screening for breast cancer with mammograms vary, but well before the age of 40, women should speak to their primary care physician or gynecologist about their risk factors for the disease and when to begin screening.
- Takeaway message: Breast density is one factor among many others that may increase your risk for breast cancer. Radiologists, breast surgeons, and gynecologists can provide guidance on breast density and if additional screening options (such as ultrasound or MRI) are right for you.
Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer or being told you are at high risk of the disease is a life-changing moment that can spur many complex emotions. Deciding between treatment options can be equally overwhelming and frustrating without the proper care and guidance.
One good marker to guide quality care is looking for a center accredited by the NAPBC, which has new guidelines that help accredited centers put patients and their care journey front and center of the treatment process, from diagnosis through survivorship. Find an NAPBC-accredited breast center today.
“The decision for breast cancer surgery and treatment is very complex. It’s really important that the patient and physician discuss the patient’s preferences and values when deciding what type of treatment to pursue.” –Katharine Yao, MD, FACS, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and NorthShore University HealthSystem