Health Care Thought Leadership

Ask-A-Doctor: Elizabeth Butler, DO


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What does comprehensive breast care include?

It involves offering the full range of diagnostic and treatment options, including imaging techniques such as mammogram, ultrasound and MRI. Surgically, we provide a fellowship-trained breast surgeon, along with highly- trained medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Here at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, we can also connect patients with financial navigators, genetic coordinators, physical therapists, lymphedema therapists and even nutritional assistance. The goal is to provide for all the patient’s needs as they go through their cancer journey.

What’s the value of having different screening options for breast cancer?

The best screening option for breast cancer patients of average risk is a 3D mammogram once a year starting at age 40. But different modalities give us the ability to see different types of irregularities. For example, while screening mammography is performed with two views, diagnostic mammography allows additional views — plus the ability to focus on any area of concern.

If patients are found to have an elevated risk of breast cancer such as they have a strong family history or extremely dense breast tissue — and that risk falls above 20 percent lifetime — they could also benefit from a yearly breast MRI.

Ultrasound is another tool that we utilize to find different abnormalities.

It is very important to have a team of radiologists and technologists who have expertise in breast imaging as well as daily experience with different types of breast imaging. These tests all have different sensitivity and specificity — some are better than others at finding different types of abnormalities. It is important to utilize them when indicated and felt to be necessary by the radiologist or physician.

What are some ways to maintain good breast health?

Performing self-breast exams is fundamental. Feel for any new masses or take note of new changes in skin contour shape or color and also evaluate for discharge.

You should always obtain imaging when recommended by your physician. Lifestyle factors are also of importance such as having a low intake of alcohol, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight. Exercise benefits not only your breast health but your overall health.

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