From Matthew H. Bertke, MD, radiation oncologist at OHC

October 21, 2021

While Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an excellent way to bring attention to this type of cancer, my OHC colleagues and I urge women to remain up to date on screening guidelines throughout the year. OHC recently posted updated cancer screening guidelines to our web site (ohcare.com), including those for breast cancer, and you can find a printable version at this link.

The American College of Radiology (ACR) and Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) now recommend that all women should be evaluated for breast cancer risk no later than age 30. This involves a review of personal and family history and a complete risk assessment. Following are the latest breast cancer screening guidelines:

  • Age 40-74: Start screening annually with a mammogram.
  • Age 75 and over: Continue with mammograms if your overall health is good, and you have a life expectancy of 10 or more years.
  • High risk: Women who are high risk for breast cancer should get a breast MRI and a mammogram annually, typically starting 10 years prior to the earliest breast cancer diagnosis in the family. This includes:
    • Having a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history (i.e. Tyrer-Cuzick)
    • Having a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation (based on having had genetic testing) or another genetic predisposition for breast cancer
    • Having a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation and having not had genetic testing themselves
    • Had radiation therapy to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30 years.

It should be noted that the American Cancer Society recommends against MRI screening for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15%.

We encourage women to be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel by performing monthly self-exams. For a handy printable self-exam guide, click here. Report any changes to your healthcare provider.

Although it is rare, men can get breast cancer. Breast cancer is most often found in women, but about one out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States is found in a man.

This month, and always, know your body and be informed of the latest cancer screening guidelines. Early detection leads to better outcomes.

For more information on breast cancer and the latest treatment advances or to request a second opinion, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit ohcare.com.

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