ast year at this time, prediction modeling from the National Cancer Institute estimated an excess of 10,000 deaths from breast and colorectal cancer over the next decade as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As screenings and related components of breast cancer care begin to return to normal, concern remains high within the medical community due to both exam deficits when compared to pre-pandemic years and emerging coronavirus variants that continue to create challenges for patients in need of critical screening mammograms.
Dr. Bibianna A. Klepchick, Director of Breast Imaging at St. Clair Health, has a goal to give women who are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer clinical support and the tools to keep an eye on their breast health.
Enter: St. Clair Health’s High Risk Breast imaging program.
In concert with insights gleaned from a patient’s intake form during their screening mammogram, the Tyrer-Cuzick Risk Assessment Calculator will dig deeper into personal history and add breast density to calculate a score that estimates a patient’s likelihood of developing breast cancer. This tool is now used on every patient that comes through the Breast Care Center for a screening mammogram.
“Identifying these patients earlier helps us catch their cancers earlier and gives them a better chance of survival,” Dr. Klepchick says.
Adding the imaging data identifies more patients that may be at a higher future risk than evaluating their history alone. State-of-the-art technology plays a key role, from detection and diagnosis through ongoing surveillance. Ultrasound, stereotactic and MRI guidance are also readily available in addition to the new screening tool, helping the team locate and biopsy even the most challenging lesions with the utmost precision.
“These valuable screening tools are already available for patients, and we’ll also be launching a clinical program that includes a breast care specialist that follows each high-risk patient and participates in their care,” she says.
“Everything we do is patient-centric, integrating services around your specific needs to continue elevating our cancer care and give you the best possible care, close to home.”
And it all starts with your annual screening mammogram.
To schedule an appointment at St. Clair Hospital’s Breast Care Center, please call 412.942.7800.