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Dispelling Myths about Breast Health

Dispelling Myths about Breast Health

The statistics are staggering and the information intimidating, but the experts at El Camino Hospital are here to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions regarding your breast health. “While there is no clear way to prevent breast cancer, it is important to know yourself and your body, see your doctor regularly, and have regular mammograms so that you can help reduce the risk of cancer or detect it at an early, more treatable stage” says Dr. Silaja Yitta, Director of Breast Imaging and Intervention at El Camino Hospital’s Women's Imaging Center. “There is an abundance of misinformation out there when it comes to breast health. It’s important to work with your doctor to understand your risk profile and determine what’s right for you when it comes to screening,” shares Dr. Yitta.

Here are five myths that our Breast Health experts hear at the El Camino Hospital breast center.

Truth or Myth? Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family, so it is unlikely that I will get breast cancer or need a mammogram.

MYTH Having a family history may increase your risk, but breast cancer can happen to anyone. For the vast majority of the women diagnosed, breast cancer does not run in their families.

Truth or Myth? An ultrasound is better than a mammogram for detecting cancer in dense breasts.

MYTH A mammogram is the first line of defense in detecting breast cancer. An ultrasound may be recommended for a number of reasons including an inconclusive mammogram or to supplement screening in dense breasts.

Truth or Myth? Some breast cancers are only visible with mammography.

TRUTH Certain cancers, particularly those forming calcifications, are best seen with mammography. In general, we recommend all women start with a mammogram. Additional tests may be recommended or ordered by your doctor. It’s important to understand your body and symptoms and consult your physician to determine the best course for you.

Truth or Myth? Tomosynthesis, or 3-dimensional mammography, detects more cancers than 2-dimensional mammography.

TRUTH A mammogram takes two X-rays across each breast from different angles, which produces a flat image that is checked for masses or abnormalities. Digital tomosynthesis is a relatively new test that takes multiple images of each breast from many angles. The X-ray moves in an arc over the breast, producing a comprehensive 3-dimensional view. This results in higher cancer detection rates.

Tomosynthesis is currently available to a limited number of breast centers, and we are excited that El Camino Hospital’s Women's Imaging Center will soon be one of those facilities.

Truth or Myth? Mammogram facilities are not regulated under federal law.

MYTH The Mammography Quality Standard Act (MQSA) states that all US facilities offering mammograms must meet uniform quality standards developed by the US Food and Drug Administration and the National Mammography Quality Assurance Advisory Committee. Annual inspections performed by FDA or State inspectors are also required under MQSA. Not only is the El Camino Breast Center accredited under the MQSA, we are an American College of Radiology (ACR) Center of Excellence, an even higher level of achievement that not every breast center has.

Exceptional Outcomes
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, our Cancer Center team will work with you and your doctor to create a personalized treatment plan. Our dedicated physicians, staff and cancer specialists provide innovative technologies and treatments, while partnering with patients through every step of their experience. This partnership has resulted in unprecedented outcomes and survival rates for women diagnosed with breast cancer. Learn more about our cancer outcomes.

A Promise That Could Save Your Life
This October, we invite you to participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month by making a Pinky Promise to get a screening mammogram and learn more about how to improve your breast health. By filling out the Pinky Promise pledge form, you will be automatically entered to win a FREE pink handbag by Rebecca Minkoff. (This article first appeared in Autumn 2016).

Learn more about the comprehensive services offered at the El Camino Hospital Women's Imaging Center.