Breast Cancer Prevention & Detection

Breast Cancer Screening

Breast cancer screening offers the best protection against dying from breast cancer. Routine screening with mammography —a specialized x-ray of the breast—reduces a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer by 30 to 50 percent.

Roswell Park recommends that women:

  • Age 40 and older should have annual breast cancer screening with mammography along with clinical exams.
  • Younger than age 40 should discuss their personal risk factors, and medical and family history with their physician to determine when to begin annual mammography screening.
  • With major risk factors, including a strong family history or a known mutation in a gene associated with breast cancer, should begin yearly screening before age 40. Because breast cancer in younger women is harder to detect with mammography, women should speak with their doctor about whether other screening tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are advised. 

The Controversy—When to start Mammography

In recent years, organizations that develop screening recommendations have disagreed on the best age to begin screening mammograms and the frequency. Screening mammography lowers the risk of dying from breast cancer and each organization agrees with that statement.

The disagreement arises from how each organization balances the risks and benefits. The risk—having a false positive—means additional mammography images or ultrasound is needed to evaluate an inconclusive screening mammogram. Less than 10 percent of women need additional imaging and only 1 to 2 percent of women need a needle biopsy. Beginning screening at an older age and having them less frequently lowers the risk of a false positive.

However, starting screening mammography at age 40 saves the most lives, and for that reason Roswell Park continues to recommend starting annual screening at age 40.

Why Choose Roswell Park

Our Breast Imaging Center is open to all women for all their breast cancer screening needs. Three reasons to have your screening at Roswell Park:

  • Our Expertise with performing and reading advanced breast imaging, including 3D-mammography (digital tomosynthesis), ultrasound and MRI.
  • Convenience of free, on-site parking next to our tranquil new center, and express appointments that take 30 minutes or less.
  • Comprehensive care including referral to our breast cancer Risk Assessment & Prevention Program and genetic counseling and testing, and where necessary for other breast related medical services.

If a problem is found, you will be in the right place with trusted providers for:

  • Minimally-invasive biopsy including core needle and fine-needle aspiration
  • Pathology analysis by pathologists who focus exclusively on breast cancer
  • Access to multidisciplinary breast oncology care team
3D-Mammography (digital tomosynthesis) is the latest technology for breast cancer screening. It improves ability to detect early cancers, especially in women with dense breast tissue, and reduces the number of women who need to have additional imaging. All of Roswell Park’s mammography is done with 3D imaging.

Risk Assessment & Prevention Program

Dr. Bonaccio explains the new, less invasive process of getting a breast biopsy after an abnormal mammogram.

The Breast Cancer Risk Assessment & Prevention Program offers the most advanced surveillance, screening, diagnostic and preventive methods to women most at risk for breast cancer.

The program provides:

  • A comprehensive breast cancer risk assessment
  • Regular clinical breast exams
  • Breast imaging including mammography and breast MRI
  • Genetic counseling and testing, if appropriate
  • Options for prevention and reducing cancer risk

You may be eligible for this program if you have:

  • A family history of breast cancer among your parents, siblings or at least two other close relatives
  • A family history of ovarian cancer or breast cancer
  • Multiple cancers within a family
  • A known mutation in one of the breast-cancer related genes (BRCA1, BRCA2, PTEN, TP53) in you or your family
  • An abnormal breast biopsy
  • Prior radiation treatment to the chest

To learn more about the program, or whether you qualify, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or complete an online form.