The Five Questions Every Woman Should Ask Her Doctor About Her Breast Health

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The Five Questions Every Woman Should Ask Her Doctor About Her Breast Health

The important questions for a woman to ask her doctor.

When 35-year-old Michelle Simmons scheduled her yearly checkup with her primary care physician earlier this year, she asked a question that may have saved her life.

Is it time for me to have a mammogram?

“I don’t really know why I asked because, to be honest, my family history with breast cancer wasn’t on my mind,” said Simmons, an elementary school teacher in Odenville, Alabama, who has battled breast cancer this past year along with a colleague and friend. “Both of my grandmothers had it, but they had it later in life. I didn’t think I would have cancer at 35. I had heard of other women asking if they should have a mammogram when they turned 35, so I just thought I would ask.”

Simmons’ mammogram showed a suspicious spot that was ultimately diagnosed as ductal carcinoma in situ, the most common type of noninvasive cancer where abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. About 60,000 cases of DCIS are diagnosed in the United States each year, accounting for about one out of every five new breast cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society. The number of cases of DCIS are growing each year in part because more women are getting mammograms, and the quality of the mammograms has improved.

“With better screening, more cancers are being spotted early,” said Helen Krontiras, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Breast Health Center. “It is important for women to know their family’s cancer history, share it with their doctor every year and get their mammogram if they meet the recommended guidelines.”

What are the questions women need to ask their primary care physician about their breast health, or their oncologist if they are diagnosed with cancer? Krontiras and Erica Stringer-Reasor, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Division of Hematology and Oncology, give these five recommendations.

Read Full Article: The Five Questions Every Woman Should Ask Her Doctor About Her Breast Health

Read Full Article: The Five Questions Every Woman Should Ask Her Doctor About Her Breast Health

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