In November I traveled to DC to issue a statement to the FDA advisory committee regarding breast density. Several radiologists, breast cancer patients and advocates, representatives from the American College of Radiology, as well as Karen Handel from the Susan G. Komen foundation were on hand to render opinions regarding a new rule being considered by the FDA, which would mandate the inclusion of breast density information in the official mammogram report that goes to the referring doctor, and that the radiology facility providing a mammogram…Read More
A few days ago in the park I passed a woman who was sporting a full set of hair curlers and wearing a housecoat. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen that, and it brought an image to my mind of my grandmother and her sisters in their rollers under headscarves in the 70’s, leaning from windows to hang laundry to dry on their retractable clotheslines in Jersey City. Fond memories of these ladies surfaced, and I thought about an essay I’d written in which they’d been featured; several of these great-aunts died prematurely from breast cancer, before adequate screening…Read More
Looking at her today, you’d never guess that my mom friend Lori Kennedy had been through the gauntlet of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment at the age of 29. A mutual friend introduced us several years ago, and after Lori learned that my field is breast imaging, she mentioned that she’d had breast cancer years before. I was intrigued by her story, and thought it would be helpful to share in “The Breast Diaries.”
The Shock of Diagnosis
In April of 1992 Lori was 29 years old, living the single life in Hoboken and working successfully in sales. She had been…Read More
Breast Cancer Awareness Month ends on Monday. Of course awareness is important, but knowing what specific actions you can take to protect yourself against the disease is empowering. Breast cancer can strike anyone, with or without risk factors. However, there are several things you can do NOW to lessen the likelihood of advanced breast cancer happening to you.
1. Lace up and take a walk! According to the Women’s Health Initiative study, women who walked just 30 minutes per day at least 5 days a week (exercise pace, not a leisurely stroll) decreased their…Read More
Top 9 Reasons Why the Government Panel Recommendations on Mammography are Bad for Your Health
If the 2009 USPSTF (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) recommendations are followed, as many as 20% of breast cancer deaths will be in women who could have been saved. The USPSTF knew this when they issued their report.
1. The Task Force’s own data shows that the most lives are saved by starting mammography screening at age 40, but they chose to ignore that data. They made a value judgment as to how much a woman’s life is worth. The science clearly shows that starting annual…Read More
As follow-up to my last post regarding breast self-examination, I offer a real case example:
A 39-year-old mom with no family history of breast cancer felt a lump in her right breast when she was doing a self-examination. Her mammogram pictures show dense breast tissue. A triangular-shaped sticker (you can see the triangle on the RMLO and RCC films) has been put on the lump. At that site on the mammogram, there is an irregular mass best seen on the magnified view RMML (yellow arrow) that demonstrates “spiculated margins”- a radiology term for badness. …Read More
Breast self-examination (BSE) is one of our key weapons in the arsenal to detect breast cancer as early as possible. It only takes a few minutes a month, yet a woman can potentially save her own life by taking the time to do it. For reasons that have nothing to do with science or common sense, the government panel known as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which did not include even one doctor specializing in breast cancer as a panelist, recommends AGAINST women doing self-examinations. See my take on this HERE.
BSE is especially important …Read More