UPHS spreads awareness during Breast Cancer Month

MARQUETTE — Throughout the month of October, doctors, patients, and others are spreading awareness in regards to one disease.

About 1 in 8 women will develop invasive Breast Cancer over her lifetime, and about 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2018. Most doctors encourage woman to start getting screened in their 40’s, in order to catch any cancers in their early stages before any growth gets larger and more dangerous.

“The think the consensus among organizations is that 40 is still the magic number where women should be offered a mammogram,” said Sheetal Acharya, a Medical Oncologist at UPHS Marquette. “Many of the organizations say that’s when they should start and they should continue to do so annually as long as they are healthy.”

Some forms of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common, and the only Genetic Counselor in the Upper Peninsula says about 5-10 percent of all those diagnosed with the disease are carrying some form of the gene.

“Individuals who have the BRCA genes (BRCA1, BRCA2) are at a very high risk for breast cancer among other cancers as well. We have very specific screening and management guidelines set aside for individuals who are known mutation carriers.

“Typically, if you have a high risk – let’s say your mother was diagnosed  with breast cancer at age 47 – you would start screening 10 years prior to the age in which your mother was diagnosed…so earlier at age 37,” said UPHS Radiologist, Heidi Henry.

In the last year, new technology at UPHS Marquette has allowed for 3D scanning during Mammograms to provide doctors with a clearer image of any potential cancers that may be found.

“In the past when I read a mammogram, it consisted of 4 images, and now I’m looking through every single layer of the breast – similar to a CT scan, so to speak. Now i have images of the breast at every single layer, and there’s about 300-400 images,” continued Henry.

UPHS Marquette is also nationally recognized and accredited in the Program for Breast Centers due to their commitment to excellence in cancer detection and care.

“We are committed to outstanding breast imaging care,” asserted Henry. “This is a national accreditation, and it shows the patient that we care about your images, and we care about you.”

Doctors and medical providers all around the country are determined to find more causes of the disease, better ways to diagnose, and eventually find a cure, and the medical staff’s drive right here in the UP is no different.