"Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts recently announced that she has breast cancer, and will begin treatment with surgery. The news and talk show host detected the cancer in its early stages immediately following her televised report of anchor Joel Siegel’s battle with cancer, and the importance of early detection. Though Roberts detected a suspicious lump during a self breast exam, a follow-up mammogram reportedly failed to detect it. An eventual biopsy revealed the need for surgery. According to the American Cancer Society, routine mammography is still highly recommended for women over 40 years of age. The organization offers these tips for ensuring that you receive a quality mammogram:
- "Ask to see the FDA certificate that is issued to all facilities that meet high professional standards of safety and quality.
- Use a facility that either specializes in mammography or does at least 3 to 5 mammograms a day.
- If you are satisfied that the facility is of high quality, continue to go there on a regular basis so that your mammograms can be compared from year to year.
- If you are going to a facility for the first time, bring a list of the places, dates of mammograms, biopsies, or other breast treatments you have had before.
- If you have had mammograms at another facility, you should make every attempt to get those mammograms to bring with you to the new facility (or have them sent there) so that they can be compared to the new ones.
- If you have sensitive breasts, try having your mammogram at a time of the month when your breasts will be least tender. Try to avoid the week right before your period. This will help lessen the discomfort.
- On the day of the exam, don’t wear deodorant or antiperspirant; some of these contain substances that can interfere with the reading of the mammogram by appearing on the x-ray film as white spots.
- You may find it more convenient to wear a skirt or pants, so that you’ll only need to remove your blouse for the exam.
- Always describe any breast symptoms or problems that you are having to the technologist who is doing the mammogram. Be prepared to describe any pertinent medical history such as prior surgeries, hormone use, and family or personal history of breast cancer. Also discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your doctor or nurse before having a mammogram.
- If you do not hear from your doctor within 10 days, do not assume that your mammogram was normal. Call your doctor or the facility."
Previously on the D.C. Medical Malpractice Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
- Heart imaging scans that carry a breast cancer risk
- Young female smokers carry a higher breast cancer risk
- A study linking breast cancer genes to fathers
- Updated guidelines for early breast cancer detection
- Breast cancer myths debunked
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