October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Louis A. Johnson VAMC Women’s Clinic has exciting news. The Women’s Clinic in its commitment to giving the best and most advanced screening detection has acquired a new state of the art 3D imaging mammography unit.

This new technology allows our Women’s Clinic to achieve superior imaging which leads to earlier detection combined with conventional 2D imaging alone.

What is 3D mammography?

3D mammography is an FDA approved advanced technology that takes multiple, layered images or X-rays of breast tissue to create 3D image of the breast. You may also hear it referred to as tomosynthisis, or tomography. It is different than traditional imaging because 2D mammography only gives a single image. Both are read on specialized work stations. These multiple images of tissue “slices”, (about one millimeter thick), give the doctors much clearer images of breast tissue. The goal is for earliest possible detection. The LAJVAMC Women’s Clinic is FDA Certified.

Who should get a mammogram?

In May 2017 the Veterans Administration announced it has adopted the American Cancer Society Mammogram Screening Guidelines. For the last 19 years the American Cancer Society (AMC), has recommended that women over 40-45 should get annual mammograms, and can change to having mammograms every other year beginning at age 55. Women should have a choice to start screening with yearly mammograms as early as age 40 if they want to.

According to the CDC, women are at a higher risk with the following risk factors:

Family history of cancer, smoking tobacco , early menstruation, late or no pregnancy, menopause after age 55, not being physically active, overweight or obese after menopause, having dense breasts, hormone therapy, oral contraceptives, drinking alcohol and others.

Breast Cancer in Men

Yes men can get breast cancer. Breast cancer is about 100 times less common than women. For men the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.

Breast cancer 2D screening is available for men in the Women’s Clinic.

VA’S Commitment to Women’ Health

By adopting the ACS guidelines for breast cancer screening, The VA has made huge gains in consolidating care standards for women.

“It is important for our women Veterans to know that they are in control of their care and the care they receive from VA is consistent or exceeds care in the private sector,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Adopting American Cancer Society standards gives Veterans further assurances that their care aligns with other health-care systems. Currently, 76 percent of women Veterans age 40-49 receive mammograms through VA.”

Breast Cancer PINK OUT

We invite everyone to participate in a PINK OUT every Monday in October to promote breast cancer awareness. Everyone is encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness and to remind the special women in our lives to talk to their provider about getting a mammogram.

About the author: David Reeder is a Compensated Work Therapy Veteran at the Louis A. Johnson VAMC 

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Published on Oct. 18, 2017

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