A yearly mammogram is your best defense against breast cancer

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At the Breast Center at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center, all women get digital 3-D tomosynthesis breast screenings, which is considered to be the new standard. Maria Madden, MD, FACS, is the center’s medical director. (Photography: Felicia Vargo)

By Laura Briedis

October is breast cancer awareness month, and it seems that everyone knows of someone who has been affected by it. In fact, one out of eight women will develop breast cancer over their lifetime. The good news is, preventive measures can be taken and, if caught early, breast cancer is very treatable.

“The single most important thing you can do is get a mammogram every year,” says Maria Madden, MD, FACS, who is the medical director of the Breast Center at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center. “It is the number one modality that we have that really saves lives.”

“Many women missed getting mammograms this past year-and-a-half during the pandemic, and we are now seeing the unfortunate results of that,” she says. “If you want to be proactive about your health, getting a mammogram is your best tool.”

UH Geauga Medical Center uses the most advanced screening technologies to identify tumors—and to reduce stressful, false positives.

At the Breast Center, all women get digital 3-D tomosynthesis breast screenings, as it is the new standard. “It is amazing technology. The 3-D reconstruction of the breast shows tremendous detail for the radiologist to see,” says Dr. Madden. “This 3-D imaging has helped decrease the number of callbacks, whereas in the past women would need to come back for more imaging if there was something in question.”

Another screening tool available at UH Geauga Medical Center is the Fast Breast MRI, a 10-minute, self-pay, supplemental examination that scientific studies have shown to be effective in finding invasive breast cancers. The Fast Breast MRI is particularly useful for examining dense breast tissue, and is a useful adjunct when there are other concerns such as family history or atypical biopsies.

“Early detection is still the best weapon against breast cancer,” says Dr. Madden, who recommends that women begin annual mammograms by the age of 40, or earlier for those who have a family history of cancer or who have lumps in their breasts.

Dr. Madden says early detection is still the best weapon against breast cancer. A yearly mammogram is the best tool in being proactive.

The Breast Center at UH Geauga Medical Center is focused on making prevention, along with diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment care as easy and anxiety-free as possible—in an intimate, close-to-home setting. The center’s multidisciplinary team of breast care specialists guides each patient through all levels of treatment—with the help of a nurse navigator who serves as an advocate and educator for patients and their caregivers throughout their cancer care experience. The nurse navigator helps patients with everything from getting a ride to their appointment to answering questions about medication.

“I usually am the first person a patient sees after being diagnosed with cancer,” says Dr. Madden, who specializes in surgical oncology. “So I explain to patients all the modalities we have to treat breast cancer. Every patient is different so every course of treatment is different.”

“Our accredited Breast Center houses all of the disciplines involved in breast care—from genetic counselors to pathologists to surgical oncologists—working as a team under one roof,” says Dr. Madden. “And we are close to your home.”

The Breast Center at UH Geauga Medical Center is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. You can schedule a breast screening or get more information by calling 440-491-5027, or by visiting UHHospitals.org/BreastCancer. Dr. Madden’s practice is located at 13221 Ravenna Road, Building 1, Suite 12, in Chardon.