Friday, February 19, 2010

Breast Health Question and Answer

(The following is an excerpt from the 2010 MdMD for Life, out this month.)

Breast surgeon Dawn Leonard, M.D., is the medical director of the Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital. She answered some questions about the center's approach to breast health.

What can a woman expect when she visits a specialized breast center?

Our general philosophy is to provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art, individualized and multidisciplinary care. When there is a problem, our job as physicians and health care providers is to provide an unbiased opinion about options.

Why would a woman need to see a breast surgeon?

Women may be referred by their primary care physician after there is a suspicious finding on a mammogram. When I am with a patient, I discuss the best type of biopsy for the patient, whether it is image-guided or surgical, and we go from there. Even if the biopsy is benign, a good surgeon will discuss risk assessment and whether the patient needs more frequent follow-up exams.

If the biopsy reveals a malignancy, then you begin discussing the surgical options such as lumpectomy or mastectomy. Whenever possible, you want to provide the opportunity for breast preservation.

What are your feelings on prophylactic mastectomies?

That is now an option for patients who are high risk, such as those with genetic mutations of BRCA1 or BRCA2. It’s a very personal decision.

To read more, click here.

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