The average American woman has a 12.4% chance of getting breast cancer in her lifetime. For women who have a family history of breast cancer, cancer risk becomes twice as high for those with a first-degree female relative who is diagnosed with breast cancer. One of the key weapons in fighting this disease is early detection. Mammograms and Breast MRIs are important ways of finding cancer early and enhancing the odds of beating it. With that said, it matters who gets a mammogram and when, as well as who does the breast MRI interpretation.
Who Benefits From a Breast MRI or Mammogram?
Of all the age groups, the one most likely to avoid a death due to breast cancer as a result of screening is the 60-69 age bracket. In general, studies have shown that mammography reduces the risk of a breast cancer death by 20% to 40%, but the higher risk a woman is, the more likely she is to benefit from early screening. The risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women becomes higher when they are overweight and even higher yet for those classified as obese. Meanwhile, women who are physically active on a regular basis have a 10% to 20% lower risk of the disease compared to inactive women. For women with an average risk of breast cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends that they start having an annual breast ultrasound or other scan at some time between the age of 40 and 44.
Where Should Someone Get Breast Cancer Screening?
Breast cancer screening is important, so choosing the right place to do the screening and breast MRI interpretation is of utmost importance. The most basic requirement is that a facility be accredited according to the Mammography Quality Standards Acts, usually by the American College of Radiology. The ACR has requirements and tests that any facility must comply with to be accredited, and this includes requirements about equipment, radiation does, the credentials of mammography technologists and those who do a breast MRI interpretation, as well as reporting standards and follow-up care. Accredited facilities will be regularly visited by inspectors regularly. Beyond that, some centers go even further to get the ACR Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. To get this award, a facility must demonstrate extraordinary commitment to patients.
Does it Matter Who Reads Scans?
Breast MRI interpretation and mammography result readings are critically important. If the person doing the reading is a general radiologist who only looks at a few breast scans each week, chances are you aren’t getting the best possible care. Dedicated specialists who read and interpret breast scan and image readers have been proven to find more cancers at early stages than general radiologists and interpreters. Finding a center with a breast imaging specialist is thankfully not very difficult these days. The key is doing due diligence to find the right treatment center.
Breast cancer is a killer we ought to all be working hard to beat. Do your part by getting scans at the right time for your age and risk level, and by encouraging friends and family to do the same. Choose facilities with specialists to read your mammogram or do your breast MRI interpretation, so you can rest easy knowing that you’ll get an accurate result.