Dr. Starr Mautner, Breast Surgeon with Miami Cancer Institute, explains a mammogram is a black and white X-ray of the breast tissue in compression. The radiologist will compress the breast from top to bottom and side to side to compare and make sure there are no changes with previous mammograms. She also says they will be looking at the anatomy of the breasts, they will be looking for symmetry between the left breast and the right breast.
Dr. Starr Mautner, Breast Surgeon with Miami Cancer Institute, says there are new treatments for breast cancer. "It seems that almost on an annual basis we're learning more and more about the treatment of breast cancer, and really it's moving in a direction that's becoming more and more personalized." Some of the treatments are radiation therapy, chemotherapy, endocrine therapy, and surgery, which could be lumpectomy or mastectomy. She explains proton beam radiation is a new type of radiation to target the tissue and avoid scatter effect to the heart in lungs.
Dr. Starr Mautner, Breast Surgeon with Miami Cancer Institute, explains if there is an abnormality on a mammogram or a breast ultrasound, the radiologist will recommend a biopsy. "When they read the mammograms they give it a scoring system, and anything that is four or five means it is suspicious or very suspicious for cancer and that triggers a biopsy." She says a biopsy is performed with a small needle inserted into the breast at the site of the abnormality for taking a tissue sample to be seen for a pathologist can make a diagnosis of breast cancer.
Dr. Starr Mautner, Breast Surgeon with Miami Cancer Institute, says lumpectomy entails removing the area of cancer from the breast, but preserving the breast. "What we'll do is create an incision on the breast and remove the area of tumor and then take tissue all the way around the tumor to ensure that all the edges are clean." She points out the surgery takes approximately 90 minutes and it is an outpatient surgery, so the patient is able to go home the same day. Other benefits of this procedure is that the recovery time is minimal, some patients go back to work the next day.
If a patient has a mammogram or ultrasound with a mask, or she has a palpable mass a biopsy is mandatory. Dr. Starr Mautner, Breast Surgeon with Miami Cancer Institute, explains tissue diagnosis is the only way to know for sure if the lesion is benign. She also describes the most common way to diagnose a breast cancer. Nowadays, physicians take a small piece of tissue out of the lesion and have the pathologist look at it on the microscope to give them a diagnosis.