Posts Tagged ‘Breast Cancer Detection’

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”


OCTOBER is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The More You Know…

Screening beginning at the age of 40 reduces breast cancer deaths by 18%.

Despite the above known fact, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations prioritize sparing women the potential negative aspects of having a mammogram, and in their opinion, their task is to try and maximize the number of lives saved, per mammogram. Shouldn’t they be more interested in how many lives are saved…period? Many advocacy groups are against the USPSTF recommendation draft listed below and I’m joining their ranks.

Hypothetically, if we are able to save one life, but it would take 500 mammograms, but that one life saved is yours at age 45, surviving to age 50 to start screening would likely not be an option for you. Would you be for, or against the starting age of 50 for screening? That is the issue with population based decision making processes – it takes the “person” out of it and aim for the greater good (but the greater good for who?)

 The other issue? If the information to NOT screen women until age 50 becomes widely accepted, then many women between the ages of 40-49 would honestly not even be aware of the USPSTF fine print recommendation to “individualize” screening. They just would not receive a mammogram. So what does that mean? Per the statistics above, 18% of women between the ages of 40-49 who missed the early opportunity of mammography diagnosis, would die from breast cancer. That is unacceptable…yes?

A similar decision is being made for age 75 and older – insufficient evidence to recommend screening. Majority of our “Baby-Boomers” are actually quite active and doing well…so more to follow on that topic.

However, despite my bias FOR screening mammogram to begin at age 40, it is always good practice to hear the other side of the story. Please see USPSTF explanation video below and link to USPSTF is HERE

What are your thoughts?

USPSTF Breast Ca Draft


Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog! 


I have been asked, “Is the “new” breast mammogram another better than regular mammogram?”  Well, let me tell you a little about what it is…and then you can become your own advocate and make the decision best for you.

Breast tomosynthesis (also known as 3-D mammography) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for routine clinical use in addition to standard/conventional mammography (Tomosynthesis should not be used alone). Tomosynthesis is a modification of digital mammography that uses a moving x-ray source that can reconstruct thin slices of images and allow the Radiologist to detect and distinguish abnormalities better.

In the screening setting, tomosynthesis may help to decrease recall rates by being able to show true lesions better. This was proven in several studies.

In the diagnostic setting, tomosynthesis improves lesion characterization that may result in fewer false positive biopsies and increase the rate of cancer detection.

breast density

When used in screening mode, the patient is exposed to approximately twice the usual radiation dose, which is sometimes is greater if the patient has dense or thick breasts. However, newer tomosynthesis creates a synthetic 2-D image from the 3-D images, and thereby lowers the radiation dose to slightly above that of a conventional mammogram.  See video below for further explanation on how tomosynthesis works.

Is this a trade off? My opinion…no. Improved detection and lower recall rates with slight increase in radiation dose vs “normal” radiation exposure from conventional mammogram with higher recall rates…and all the anxiety and psychological effects to boot? However, the decision is yours.

Watch videos below to learn the basics of breast self exam and tomosynthesis (Digital 3-D mammography)




Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Homeland – JAMAICA!

Need More Health Information? Watch video HERE!

imageSo I have been “family home trekking” for the past few days – from Mom in Pembroke Hall, Kingston, to Dad in Eltham View, Spanish Town, to my Sister Amelia in Old Harbor, Jamaica …. getting ready to head to Negril, Jamaica … to have some real vacation!  Yeah:-) Before I left for Vacation, I saw a few Breast Cancer patients and an excerpt from on of the consultation went like this;

Doc: So tell me, how was the Breast Cancer Detected? Was it by the Mammogram or did you palpate a lump?

Patient: Actually, it was my husband who detected the lump. He noticed that my breast felt abnormal and so we decided to visit our Primary Care Doc

Iimaget was then that it dawned on me … this has happened quite a few times in the past. I would say, ~20% of breast cancers are detected during Breast Self Exam (BSE) … and of that percentage, I would estimate ~2-5% are really detected by significant other. Though this may be an estimate, it is not an insignificant number, considering that over 250,000 women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer each year. In my practice over the past year, I would estimate about 15 patients told me that someone else detected the mass – husbands, boyfriends … and yes, even their  girlfriends!!

Many women overlook the recommendation to do BSE. Either because of fear or because they just don’t think it is important enough or they simply forget. I encourage ALL my female readers over the age of 25 (30) to do their monthly Breast Self Exam (The youngest patient I treated for Breast Cancer was 27 years old). Please remember that most breast mass are benign (non-cancerous), but it is still best to check!

So,  I write to all my female readers and those readers with a female significant other …. Please Check The Breasts …. Doctors Orders! Yeah mon!

Peace and Love from JAMAICA!

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr. McGann!

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