Latest technology means better care for breast cancer patients

  • Molly Schoepke, director of clinical operations for the Northwest region at Amita Health Cancer Institute

    Molly Schoepke, director of clinical operations for the Northwest region at Amita Health Cancer Institute

 
By Jacky Runice
Updated 10/11/2019 10:18 AM

According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer impacts around 2.1 million people per year. The good news? Many breast cancers can be treated successfully through early detection and identifying treatments effective for specific cancers. That's why it's so important to make an appointment for a breast cancer screening.

Consider scheduling your mammogram at the AMITA Health Cancer Institute, where women do not need an order to schedule a mammogram. A screening mammogram of both breasts usually takes less than 10 minutes and the patient is compressed for less than a minute per view, usually for only 20-30 seconds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Should you opt for a traditional or 3-D mammogram?

"3-D mammography, or digital breast tomosynthesis, has been shown by many research studies to improve the results of mammography when compared to usual 2D digital mammography," explained Molly Schoepke, Director of Clinical Operations for the Northwest region at Amita Health Cancer Institute.

"A 3-D mammograms allow us to be more accurate in our ability to detect and diagnose cancer as compared to traditional (two-dimensional) mammograms. Two-dimensional screening mammograms provide only two images of the breast: the top and the side," she continued. "A 3-D mammogram would obtain approximately 300 images, as compared to the (two-dimensional) mammogram, which is about four images. And that means better cancer detection and fewer false alarms."

The AMITA Health Cancer Institute also offers genetic testing for breast cancer which can actually predict how likely you are to develop it in the future.

By clarifying your risk of certain cancers through genetic testing, you are empowered to lower the risk of developing cancer and increase the chance of early detection -- something that can protect you and your family members over generations.

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Schoepke, a radiation therapist, got into health care because of her dual love of people and science. "My field has changed so much in the last 20 years because of advances in technology," she said, "and in radiation oncology for breast cancer, probably the most exciting advancement is the development of deep inspiration breath technique (DIBH)." In this technique, left-sided breast cancer patients take a deep breath and hold it; the full lungs move the heart out of the way, minimizing the radiation the heart might receive.

The AMITA Health Cancer Institute is a multidisciplinary team that cares for patients from diagnosis through survivorship, offering many programs that not only support the patient but also their families. "We have a team of doctors, nurse navigators, dietitians, social workers and genetic advance practice nurses that meet with patients every step of the way," Schoepke explained. "We offer support groups, massages, exercise classes and a boutique that assists with prosthesis and wig fittings."

The American College of Radiology recommends an annual mammogram starting at age 40 and the radiologists at AMITA recommend following these standards.

The AMITA Breast Cancer Institute offers a plethora of special programs during Breast Cancer Awareness month from sponsoring Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2019 Walk on Oct. 13 at Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village to Breast Survivorship Workshops presented by breast nurse navigators for young women diagnosed before the age of 45.

For more information or to schedule a mammogram, call (855) MyAMITA or go to www.amitahealth.org/services/cancer-institute.

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