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A Complete Approach to Breast Cancer Screening with Mammography and Ultrasound

Mary Freivogel, MS, CGC, Allison Anguiano, MS, CGC, and Lora Barke, DO

*Certified Genetic Counselor and Manager of Patient Risk Assessment and Prevention, Invision Sally Jobe Breast Centers, Englewood, Colorado.
Certified Genetic Counselor of Patient Risk Assessment and Prevention, Invision Sally Jobe Breast Centers, Englewood, Colorado.
Radiologist, Medical Director, Invision Sally Jobe Breast Centers, Section Chief of Breast Imaging - Fellowship Trained in Breast Imaging, Radiology Imaging Associates, Englewood, Colorado. 

ABSTRACT

Breast cancer has a considerable impact on public health in the United States, and early detection through regular screening efforts has been critical in improving long-term outcomes for individuals affected by the disease. For average-risk women, screening recommendations include regular breast self-examinations, annual clinical breast examinations, and annual screening mammography examinations beginning at the age of 40 years. For women at increased risk, annual screening mammography may be recommended to begin at an earlier age and supplemental breast cancer screening, such as breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be considered. Effective breast cancer screening is critical to achieve consistent, early disease detection and reduce the need for unnecessary biopsies to distinguish between benign and malignant disease. Personalized breast cancer screening regimens are becoming more important as publications demonstrate how patients of various risk levels can benefit from a variety of imaging technologies. Imaging professionals play an important role in the breast cancer screening process, and are often the only professionals that individuals encounter during their examination. Radiologic technologists should therefore have an understanding of current mammography practices, as well as the use of advanced modalities (such as breast MRI) in screening applications, so that they are in a position to answer questions that arise and put their clients at ease. This article will review standard breast cancer screening modalities, risk factors that require additional screening efforts, and supplemental modalities that are under development to improve the quality and utility of breast imaging.

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