40 IS THE NEW 50… FOR EARLY MAMMOGRAM SCREENING

 

By Elizabeth Meier

As reported by ABC News, Doctors are encouraging their female patients to get annual and bi-annual mammograms as early as, and sometimes earlier than, the age of 40. Their article highlights the statistics of women with breast cancer, and the rapid change in those statistics amongst women who got early screenings.

In a study performed by Massachusetts General Hospital at two Boston hospitals, of 609 confirmed breast cancer deaths that occurred between 1990 and 1999, over half of the women had never had a mammogram before their diagnosis. Early screenings cannot be stressed enough when it comes to breast cancer detection and prevention. It is now commonly being recommended that women begin getting regular annual mammograms at the age of 40. “For women without risk factors, consider self breast examinations at home and see your physician for a clinical breast exam every two to three years starting in your 20s.”

Dr. Cady, of Massachusetts General Hospital even stated “I have watched the mortality rate from breast cancer fall from 50 percent in the 1960s to 9.2 percent today with the advent of early detection with mammography,”

For those patients without health insurance, or who are unable to afford the co-pays, deductibles and/or premiums on their health insurance, please visit MRI Scan Group’s website at http://mriscangroup.com. MRI Scan Group has a network of trusted facilities that offer steeply-reduced pricing on diagnostic imaging scans for uninsured and under insured patients. Contact them today to schedule your diagnostic imaging scan at a facility near you.

 

RESOURCES:

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/mammograms-50-could-save-lives-researchers-100043523–abc-news-health.html

http://mriscangroup.com

 

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NEW GUIDELINES FOR BREAST HEALTH

By Elizabeth Meier

The American Cancer Society now advises that women with an “unusually high risk of developing breast cancer, as well as women newly diagnosed with breast cancer” have an annual breast MRI performed in addition to an annual clinical breast exam and mammogram. An MRI “revealed cancers in the opposite breast that were missed by ordinary mammograms in 3 percent of cancer survivors” involved in a new medical study. An MRI is a diagnostic scan that can examine soft tissues, organs and bones. MRIs show soft tissue abnormalities and injuries with great specificity and articulation. The MRI scan is an outpatient procedure; afterwards you will be able to resume your day-to-day life. The current breast cancer screening guidelines for the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force can be seen below.

Current breast cancer screening guidelines by organization*

American Cancer Society
Annual mammogram for women ages 40 and over.
Clinical breast exam every two to three years for women ages 20 to 40, and annually for women ages 40 and over.
Annual breast MRI for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is greater than 20%. Women whose risk is 15% to 20% should discuss the risks and benefits of annual breast MRI with their doctor to determine whether it is appropriate for them.

National Cancer Institute
Mammogram every one to two years for women ages 40 and over.
Clinical breast exam every one to two years.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
Mammography with or without clinical breast examination every one to two years for women ages 40 and over.

*All of the groups consider breast self-exam, which has not been demonstrated to save lives, to be optional. They also set no upper age limit on mammography, instead advising annual mammograms for any woman who can realistically expect to live at least five more years and would be a candidate for treatment should she be diagnosed with breast cancer.
(http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/MRIs-emerging-role-in-breast-cancer-screening.htm)

“MRI’s value in detecting breast cancer is most evident in studies involving women at high risk for the disease. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2004, Dutch researchers followed 1,900 women with a risk of breast cancer greater than 15% due to genetic mutations or family history. (The average lifetime risk is 12.7%.) For nearly three years, the women received yearly MRIs as well as semiannual clinical breast exams and yearly mammograms. Mammography detected 18 cancers but missed 22 that were found on MRI. MRI found 32 cancers and missed only eight that showed up on mammograms.” (Health.Harvard.edu)

“Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a 3-dimensional test to evaluate the breasts. You are placed on your belly on a table that is surrounded by a tubular structure and requires you to lie still for about 20 minutes. A material called gadolinium is used for contrast and is injected prior to going in the tube. There is no radiation exposure. The test looks at the blood flow in your breasts and areas will “light up” if there is increased blood flow. It is important to note that certain conditions may prevent you from having this test. These include any metal in your body, any previous allergic reaction to gadolinium contrast material, claustrophobia and too much weight. The MRI is a magnet so any metal will be attracted to the machine. There is a maximum weight limit so being too heavy may also prevent testing. Breast MRI seems to be a good tool for women who have very dense breasts, where mammograms may be limited in viewing the breasts well.” (Doctor Oz)

The risk involved in having an MRI performed is minimal to non-existent. An MRI scan is one of the safest exams performed. MRIs do not use radiation, as opposed to X-Rays. However, MRI does have some limitations – If you have a pacemaker or certain body implants then you should not have an MRI scan. Be sure to ask your doctor if you have either (MRISG). The high cost of the MRI scan is one of its limitations; NBC News reports that while a mammogram costs roughly $100 to $150, an MRI can cost $2,000 or more at some medical centers, experts said. “It’s very, very expensive,” said Robert Smith, the cancer society’s director of cancer screening. Many insurers cover MRI screenings, but not all do, Smith and others said.

Thankfully, there are organizations such as MRI Scan Group (MRISG), who work with uninsured and underinsured patients to find them an affordable, reduced-cost scan at a location nearest them. With the help of MRISG, patients can receive a breast MRI at a fraction of the cost found at most medical centers. If you are at high risk of developing breast cancer, or have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer, take some of the financial stress out of the equation by using MRI Scan Group to locate an affordable breast MRI at a center near you. Visit their website for more information: http://mriscangroup.com/index.php

RESOURCES:

http://mriscangroup.com/index.php

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/MRIs-emerging-role-in-breast-cancer-screening.htm

http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/katherine-lee-md/breast-mri-who-should-get-one

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/17818068/#.UcnJrPnVCKE

Emergence of MRIs in Cancer Detection

Written By Norman McPhail

World Cancer Day passed us by in February with very little recognition. It seems a shame that something as deadly as cancer did not receive more publicity. Everyone has or will be affected by cancer in some way over the course of their life (I know I have). Education is the key to help elevate our awareness of this deadly disease.
Skin Cancer is the most common type of cancer, with well over 1 million cases in the US per year. The good news is that skin cancer is the most treatable with less than 1,000 deaths per year. Interestingly enough, men and women differ quite a bit as far as cancer risk. Men have to worry about prostate cancer, whereas breast cancer is prevalent in women. Lung cancer is equally of concern for both men and women with 210,000 cases per year.
The good news is that cancer survival rates are much better today than just a few years ago. “In 2009, Americans had a 20% lower risk of death from cancer than they did in 1991, a milestone that shows we truly are creating more birthdays,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. People are taking matters into their own hands through education by eating better, working out and visiting the doctor more often.
Doctors have many more tools today that can help them detect cancers. X-Rays, CT Scans, Ultrasound, PET and MRIs, among others, are the weapons of choice.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a relatively new technology, having been introduced in 1947. The first human MRI did not occur until 1977. The first MRI equipment to perform exams was developed in the 1980’s. In 2009 there were almost 8 thousand magnets in use around the United States. Today, the MRI is at the forefront of technology and leading the way in reducing the number of deaths from cancer each year.
An MRI uses a combination of a large magnet, radio frequencies and computers that produces detailed images of organs and structures within your body. More importantly, an MRI helps distinguish between normal and diseased tissue to help identify cancer. The MRI provides greater contrast than a CT scan between the different soft tissues of the body.
An MRI is often used to examine the heart, inside bones, brain, liver, pancreas, spine, muscles, male and female reproductive organs, and other soft tissues. It can assess blood flow (contrast), detect tumors and diagnose many forms of cancer, and can help evaluate infections and assess injuries to bones and joints.
MRI Scan Group (MRISG) is a nation-wide referral service for diagnostic imaging, and helps make diagnostic imaging more affordable for the cash paying patients.

MRI Scan Group: http://www.mriscangroup.com
World Cancer Day: http://www.worldcancerday.org