October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I welcomed two outstanding experts to the WCCO studios for the live broadcast of Healthy Matters. We focused on the common screening test – the mammogram – and tried to answer your questions about this well-known but still sorta mysterious test that women (and a few men) get all the time.
To help me, I turned to repeat radio guest and my friend Dr. Tony Severt. He is the Assistant Chief of Radiology at HCMC (the mother-ship where I work) and is a expert in women’s imaging, including mammograms and other breast imaging (like ultrasound and MRI).
As an aside, there is a bit of wisdom that some doctors heed . . . that it is always good for us non-radiologists to have a “go-to” radiologist to help us when we need advice on the best imaging to order or how to interpret the imaging that we have. Dr. Severt is my “go-to” guy! He’s smart, really understands the patient perspective, and he is kind and willing to help. So I dragged him down to the studio last Sunday morning.
But Dr. Severt is not the one who actually performs the mammogram. That job goes to mammogram technologists who are highly skilled, patient-focused, and dedicated professionals. These women (yes, the mammogram techs are all women as it should be) are supervised at HCMC by Leah Hahn. Leah joined us in the studio to give the first-hand perspective of one who knows her stuff about mammograms. For more about mammograms, click the HCMC radiology page here. And for an advance look at Minnesota’s newest and finest breast care center, scroll to the bottom of this post!
As always, the best way to catch up on a past show is by listening to the podcast. Click this logo to reach the main podcast page, then select Healthy Matters show #460, October 29, 2017.
The problem, as usual with a live radio broadcast, is that we never get to all the questions that people call and text in to us. So the rest of this post is simply a Q&A. I’m using the text questions that listeners sent and have asked Dr. Severt and Leah to give their responses. Here they are . . . Continue reading “Get your mammogram questions answered here!”→
I wrote this post about 4 or 5 times. The first draft found me in the weeds of details and statistics. In the second draft I sounded too preachy. My third attempt covered every aspect of breast cancer from risk factors to diagnosis to treatment and was waaaaaaay too long. I just couldn’t seem to get it right.
Then I realized that breast cancer is a multi-headed beast. It has technical clinical aspects. It has emotional overtones. It has a definite gender angle that I, as a man, really cannot fathom. It has controversy. It is scary.
It is just too much to cover in one blog post, ergo, my troubles in writing about it. So I’ve decided to talk about a single aspect of breast cancer – that being the role of mammography in screening.
I know people with breast cancer. I bet you do as well.
Do you know anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer? I’m guessing you do. Perhaps someone you love died of breast cancer. Perhaps you know someone living with breast cancer. Perhaps you or someone in your life was recently diagnosed. Perhaps you are a survivor yourself.
I know so many people in my life (not just my doctor life, I mean my real life) who have or have had or did have breast cancer. It is really sobering. Really close friends. Several women from my church congregation. Relatives. My own mother-in-law. Wonderful strong women all of them.
The point is that breast cancer is a relatively common disease that affects nearly 1 in 8 women in their lifetime. The other point is that breast cancer takes a variety of forms and affects women (and men) with many different faces from every community. And another point is that breast cancer is treatable.
This Sunday on Healthy Matters (my weekly health and wellness radio show) we talked about breast cancer screening with the major focus on mammography as the single most effective screening method available. In this post I will cover:
Expert advice from last Sunday’s radio broadcast featuring radiologist and mammography expert Dr. Tony Severt.
Some solid information about breast cancer screening – the guidelines for mammography, including the newest 2016 guidelines
A look at the controversy around mammography guidelines.
Thanks for joining me. Let’s learn something together . . .