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Breast Cancer: Early Detection and Screening with Dr. Boatsman

Breast Cancer: Early Detection and Screening with Dr. Boatsman

– Hello, and thank you for joining us for Methodist Healthcare’s
breast cancer series. This series will provide you
with the tools to empower you to take control of your breast health. Joining us today is Dr. Justin Boatsman. He is a breast radiologist. And we’ll be discussing early
detection and screening. Dr. Boatsman, thank you
so much for being here. Could you tell us what is the best way to detect breast cancer early? – Well the best way to detect
cancer early is a combination. One is the screening mammogram. It can detect cancers
up to two years earlier than the physical exam can. It’s probably our number one best tool. But it can’t catch all the cancers. There really does need
the complimentary tool of physical exams. So between those two things, that’s your best step towards
catching cancer early. – Okay, and going to that mammogram, can you tell us at what age do women start getting that
annual mammogram screening, and why is that so important? – Women should have the
opportunity to start screening at age 40, and then annually after that. That’s the regimen that will
detect the most cancers, the smallest and the earliest, and give women the best chance
in the battle against cancer. – Okay, very helpful, and a
lot of times I think women, we build things up in our mind, and we hear and read things that might make us uncomfortable. So, can you just walk us through what the mammogram process is like? Is it scary? Does it hurt? – Sure. Anytime you’re having a medical test, I understand that there could
be some anxiety involved, especially a test where
you’re tying to figure out if you have cancer or not. I wish that the test was
completely comfortable, but it does require
some compression there, and everybody’s a little bit different. That being said, we really
try to make the process as comfortable we can. We try to have a nice environment, and it really is a test
where the technologist and the patient interact. The patient is always in control. And so when they need to take a break, whatever they need, just
talk to the technologist and they’ll give it to them. It’s very rare that we
can’t get through the test and get exactly what we need. – Okay, and if a lump is
detected in a mammogram, does that always mean that
the lump was caused by cancer? – That’s a good question. Everything that we find in
a mammogram is not cancer. In fact, most of the things
we find are not cancer. They’re gonna turn out to be okay. And our tests are very good
at telling us what’s cancer and what’s not cancer. In the breast, we have a
lot of things that overlap. We see very commonly little areas that cause pain and symptoms. A lot of these things turn out to be just breast tissue that’s got caught in a little different way, but with a few extra images, or maybe an extra test or two, we can usually resolve those and figure out what
what we’re dealing with and what we need to do. – If cancer is detected,
what’s the next step? – So once we’ve figured out
that there is a cancer there, the next step may be determining
how much cancer is there. You’re also gonna get plugged into a team of different types of doctors. Surgeons, oncologists, and that whole team is really gonna guide
you through that process of removing that cancer and
any other treatments steps that are needed. And we’re fortunate here in San Antonio to have a very good group of people who work very close together, and Methodist has a great program called the Navigator Program, which is free to the patients. It really is a single point person, that can guide them as they’re going to
these different offices and different places. They’re gonna consistently
be that reference point and get them through that process and answer their questions and get them where they need to go. The number one thing is, everything that we’ve
talked about doesn’t work if you don’t go see your doctor and you don’t get your
screening mammogram. So if you haven’t gone in and
had a screening mammogram, please go and do so. If you have any symptoms in your breast you haven’t let somebody know about, that’s new to you or different, please let somebody know,
and get that worked up. – Thank you, that’s very great advice, very great information
for us to take away, and thank you again so
much for being here, And remember, early detection saves lives. We challenge you to schedule your annual screening. Just go to to schedule your mammogram today. (gentle music)

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