Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 16th 2017 Contents A30 people
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JYOTI PRIYA DEONARINE
Pink Hibiscus Breast Health Specialists
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in
women worldwide and deemed the second most
common cancer overall. Although screening
cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find
it early, when it is easier to treat.
Breast cancer screening means checking a woman’s
breasts for cancer before there are any sign or symp-
toms of the disease, which utilizes a combination of
various imaging tools.
For women over the age of 40 two tests are advised.
Primarily an x-ray test called a digital mammogram
alongside a breast ultrasound and maybe even a breast
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
Fibrocystic breast tissue, commonly referred to
as dense breast tissue, or as I say in clinic “young
girl breast”, is a combination of fibrous and cystic
tissues. It is a noncancerous type of tissue found in
more than half the female population, and is referred
to as fibrocystic breast disease but is not a disease
of the breast.
However, changes occur in the breast tissue from
childbearing age to menopause. This may occur in
one or both breasts, extending all the way to under
the arm in the axilla area where some women have
axillary breast tissue.
Fibrosis is the firm fibrous breast tissue which is
solid and lumpy to touch. It may also have a rubbery
feel. Cysts are fluid filled sacs/balloons found be-
tween the breast tissue and if large feels like round
marble-like structures during your breast exam, while
some cysts can only be discovered using various im-
Cysts are reactive and can become enlarged and
tender just before your period as fluid builds up due to
hormone changes in the body. However these symp-
toms tend to cease at the end of your cycle, so it is
advised that you monitor them and seek appropriate
Digital mammography addresses breast tissue den-
sity by allowing the radiologist to adjust and enhance
the contrast of light and dark on the computer. It
also allows the radiologist to enlarge an area of breast
tissue on the monitor to more closely examine areas
Digital mammography is becoming the new trend
for detecting breast tissue changes for women over
the age of 40, as it can detect the presence of breast
cancer 28 per cent more often than traditional analog
Younger women tend to have very dense breast tis-
sue which eventually converts to fat. This is monitored
with mammograms and ultrasound scans over time.
Breast ultrasound is a common tool used in con-
junction with digital mammography to assess breast
tissue changes, especially when it relates to fibrocystic
breast tissue, as cysts can be better differentiated.
There are many instances where patients may have
a digital mammogram alone and are called back to
have a breast ultrasound. This is not a cause for panic
as cancer is not necessarily the reason for the return.
BI-RADS stands for Breast Imaging Reporting and
Data System. It was established by the American Col-
lege of Radiology (ACR) as a scheme for mammogram
findings and is now used for breast ultrasound and
The BI-RADS system is the communication
amongst radiologists, doctors and patients as it
standardizes the words used in breast imaging re-
ports describing the density of a woman’s breast,
patients with very dense breasts are the ones which
may be called back.
Therefore, it is commonly suggested to have a
comprehensive breast screening examination, which
should entail having a physical breast exam, digital
mammogram and breast ultrasound to ensure all as-
pects of breast tissue is assessed.
For the many women who still ask why they should
do both a digital mammogram and breast ultrasound,
Breast cancer screening
Two is better than one
it is simply because there are some things which can
be seen on mammograms but not ultrasounds and
If both imaging modalities are performed annually,
breast cancer can be detected at an earlier stage which
leads to better prognosis and more treatment options.
This is the standard of care for us at Pink Hibis-
cus Breast Health Specialists, as we collaborate with
international experts and are fully accredited as a
breast centre. We ensure the best practice of care is
delivered. When it comes to breast cancer screening
ladies having the two tests done, is better than one.
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