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Wake Radiology Supports New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

Wake Radiology UNC REX Healthcare, the Triangle’s leading provider of outpatient medical imaging, is announcing it’s support for new breast cancer screening guidelines outlined by two leading medical associations. Revised recommendations put forth by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) call for risk assessments beginning at age 30 for all women and detail specific instructions for African American women.

In 2018, the ACR and SBI breast cancer screening guidelines were the first to recognize that African American women are at an increased risk for breast cancer mortality. Both organizations say the updated standards will help detect breast cancer early when it’s most treatable and could help save more lives.

New Guideline Recommendations

  • All women, especially African American women, should be evaluated for breast cancer risk no later than age 30,
    so that those at higher risk can be identified and benefit from supplemental screening.
  • All women who are not at risk should begin annual breast cancer screenings starting at age 40. 
  • Breast MRI is recommended for women with personal histories of breast cancer and dense tissue or those
    diagnosed by age 50.
  • Women who have undergone radiation therapy to the chest should begin screenings starting at age 25 or 8 yrs after radiation therapy, whichever is later.
  • Women with genetics-based increased risk or a calculated lifetime risk of 20% or more should begin annual screenings at age 30. 
  • The revised guidelines for African American women point to an increased risk of being diagnosed with
    aggressive “triple-negative” breast tumors.

“Since 1990, breast cancer death rates dropped 23 percent in African-American women—approximately half that in whites,” said Wendy B. DeMartini, MD, President of the SBI, in the organization’s statement. “We changed our approach to help save more African-American women and others at higher risk from this deadly disease.”

“We agree with the revised and updated guidelines published by the ACR and SBI earlier this week,” said Danielle Wellman, MD, director of breast imaging at Wake Radiology.  “We believe this will spark important dialogue between women and their primary healthcare provider about their breast health and their risk for breast cancer.”

These guidelines raise awareness that all women, regardless of ethic descent African, Indian, Asian, European, Hispanic, etc. should have annual screening mammograms to help detect and diagnosis breast cancer at its earliest possible stage. This is when the disease is most treatable.

Know More About Your Own Breast Health

At WakeRad REX, we continue to believe that high quality, annual screening mammograms starting at age 40 remains a woman’s best chance of early detection of breast cancer and saving lives. We also recommend 3D mammogram for all women, regardless of age, ethnicity and breast density. This revolutionary technology offers increased clarity in images, greater accuracy in diagnosis and reduces the number of callbacks which can ease patient anxiety.

We encourage women to know more about breast cancer screenings and offer several resources that provide useful information.

Fortunately, annual screening mammograms, including 3D mammography, are covered by most major insurance carriers in our area. Medicare covers annual screenings and later this spring, the NC Medicaid plan will also cover 3D mammography.

If you have additional questions about these breast cancer guidelines or your breast cancer risk, we encourage all women to talk with their primary healthcare provider. Wake Radiology has offices throughout the Triangle that offer screening mammogram services. Many have early morning, evening and Saturday appointments.

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