Early detection is key for treating breast cancer. Leading-edge treatments give you a better prognosis than ever before—if you catch it early.
"I can't stress enough the importance of regular screening and breast self-examination," says Craig J. Gordon, D.O., Botsford Hospital's Director of Oncology. "These can significantly improve the prognosis in the long run."
Cynthia S. Sandona, D.O., Botsford's Director of Breast Health, says, "Having a mother, sister or other close relative who had breast cancer before menopause is far and away the greatest risk factor for breast cancer." Moreover, women who do not bear children or those bearing their first child after age 30 may account for more than 29 percent of all U.S. breast cancer cases.
Women who are concerned about their breast cancer risk should talk to their doctor. Doctors may recommend more frequent or earlier mammograms and other screening tests to attempt to catch the cancer early.
Botsford is on the leading edge in helping women identify and treat breast cancer. Dr. Gordon says one of the most exciting recent breakthroughs is MammoSite breast brachytherapy.
"Rather than exposing the entire breast to radiation treatment, the MammoSite involves removing the lump, then inserting a radiation-emitting catheter at the source of the lump," he says. "This treatment spares other breast tissue and safely allows patients the opportunity to keep their breasts."
The treatment can only be used early on when the tumor is very small. "For women to qualify for MammoSite, the tumor has to be less than three centimeters," Dr. Sandona says. "That's still very small and very hard to detect by hand, which shows why mammography is so important."