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How to Prioritize Breast Health in the Era of COVID-19

(BPT) – With Breast Cancer Awareness Month approaching in October, breast health may be top of mind among many women this time of year. But as COVID-19 continues to spread in some areas of the country, some women may feel hesitant to get a mammogram or cancer treatment this fall. With one in eight women at risk of developing breast cancer, it is still important to prioritize your breast health. The latest advances in breast cancer detection and treatment can help you get the care you need and minimize your risk of virus exposure. Here’s what you need to know about going to — and staying out of — the doctor’s office this year.

Artificial intelligence enhances mammography and protects patients

Earlier this year, several medical organizations recommended women postpone breast cancer screening until the threat of COVID-19 passed, which resulted in a decrease in mammograms of up to 92% in some areas, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Now that screening has resumed in many areas, it’s important for women to schedule their mammograms, as cancers found earlier may be more easily treated.

“In my practice we’ve taken many precautions to keep our patients safe, including social distancing, remote check-ins and extensive cleaning of our equipment between patients,” according to Randy Hicks, M.D., Co-owner and CEO of Regional Medical Imaging in Michigan. “We also use the latest in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, ProFound AI, with all of our mammography screenings. According to a recent study in Radiology: Artificial Intelligence, this technology is clinically proven to enhance breast cancer screening, as it improves sensitivity by 8% and decreases the rate of false positives and unnecessary callbacks for patients by 7%. This may reduce the number of times women need to come to our facility, which may also reduce their risk of virus exposure.”

In 2018, ProFound AI for DBT became the first AI software for 3D mammography to be FDA-cleared, and it is currently being used in a growing number of leading-edge facilities worldwide. Ask your doctor if he or she offers mammograms with this cutting-edge AI technology.

One-day breast cancer treatment offers convenience for patients and minimizes virus exposure

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer this year may feel apprehensive about getting treatment, as it could potentially involve multiple trips to the hospital or clinic, where one might be exposed to COVID-19. But long-term studies recently published in the Annals of Surgical Oncologyand British Medical Journal support a one-day treatment option for certain patients with early-stage breast cancer called intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT).

“Xoft breast IORT allows women who are candidates to replace weeks of daily radiation fractions with just one dose of radiation, performed at the time of lumpectomy — in as little as 10 minutes. A growing body of evidence shows IORT to be an effective radiation treatment for select low-risk patients with fewer side effects,” according to Sadia Khan, D.O., FACS, Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at Keck School of Medicine, USC, Director of Integrative Breast Oncology at Hoag Breast Program in California. “Many patients find IORT to be more convenient — especially women in rural areas who might be required to travel great distances to the hospital or imaging facility. It also minimizes patients’ potential exposure to COVID-19 as it greatly reduces the number of times they need to come in for treatment.”

The Xoft System is FDA-cleared, CE marked and licensed in a growing number of countries for the treatment of cancer anywhere in the body. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, ask your doctor if this targeted therapy might be an option. To find a facility that offers this treatment near you, visit this link:

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