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Saturday September 20th 2014

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Health Talk with Dr. Kimberly Garcia

From screenings to oncology referrals, women are taken care of every step of the way at Radiology Associates.

“We help patients through the system so that they don’t fall through the cracks,” said Karen Schell, practice manager. “We want patients taken care of quickly and efficiently.”
Radiology Associates is affiliated with Baptist Health Care and features the breast tomosynthesis, which is a new 3D technique that works by capturing a series of X-ray images from multiple angles. Dr. Kimberly Garcia, a radiologist at Baptist Health Care, gives women her advice on breast care.

Q: Most breast cancer survivors advise women to “know their
body.” What if a woman is concerned about an abnormality, but her doctor
says she’s fine? How long should women wait to seek a second opinion or how
can they address their concern to their doctor?

A: Patients should not hesitate to get a second opinion if they are concerned
with any abnormal finding. Women know their body and can tell if something
is not right.

Q: I’ve heard caffeine can cause women to feel differences in self-breast
exams. What are other triggers that can cause benign lumps or differences?

A: Benign breast changes can cause lumps due to breast infection or injury;
medications may cause lumps or breast pain, especially birth control pills,
hormone replacement therapy and caffeine.

Q: Mammograms can be a scary experience.  How can women prepare for their screening, whether it’s a clinical screening or mammogram?

A: Explore web sites and educate yourself by reading information that is
posted by the American Cancer Society, or the American College of Radiology.
Also, speak with their health care providers and address any concerns. Call
the facility where they are planning to have their screening done and talk
with the health care providers.

Q: Concerning breast cancer, what is your advice on preventative care for
women 30 and under?
A: According to the American Cancer Society, healthy women in their 20s and
30s should have a breast exam performed as part of a periodic health exam
every three years. Younger women should have additional screening if they have a
positive physical exam or they are BRCA-positive or have genetic
predisposition. Keep track of family history and have a risk assessment to
determine if you are at high risk. The American Cancer Society suggests that all women should maintain a healthy body weight with regular physical activity lasting 30 minutes or more on five or more days of the week. Reduce alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day for women (and no more than two drinks per day for men)
Avoid tobacco use. Patients should do monthly self-breast exams and have annual physician exams by a Primary Care Physician or their gynecologist with breast exams being part of the annual health screening. Patients may find a noticeable breast lump, thickening, swelling, distortion, tenderness, skin irritation, dimpling, nipple pain, scaliness, ulceration, retraction or spontaneous discharge. These suspicious lumps or
breast changes should always be checked by a doctor.

Q: What is your personal opinion on the General Surgeon’s recommendations
for mammograms? Do you feel younger women should have one annually?
A: I would suggest that women follow the American College of Radiology and
American Cancer Society guidelines and receive yearly mammograms. Annual
mammograms are recommended starting at age 40, and continuing for as long as
a woman is in good health. Women should have a breast exam by a doctor or nurse as part of a periodic health exam, about every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and older. If there are findings on the mammogram we may do other diagnostic tests as needed, such as a fine-needle aspiration, core biopsy, ultrasound-guided core biopsy, stereotactic core biopsy or a surgeon may do an open excisional biopsy.

Dr. Kimberly Garcia
Radiologist
Baptist Health Care
1717 N. E Street
432-6851
bhcpns.org