Revisiting the Facts During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Bonnie Joe, M.D., Ph.D. on October 20, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and during this month, it’s important to discuss and revisit the facts about breast cancer.

  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.
  • Early detection saves lives.

Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the breast. The damaged cells can invade surrounding tissue, but continuous research shows that with early detection and treatment, most people continue a normal life.

However, in 2009, the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPTF) published new breast cancer screening guidelines recommending against routine mammography screening for women before age 50 years and suggesting that screening end at age 74 years, despite opposition from organizations including the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology.

I, too, have serious concerns about these guidelines, which endorse screening every two years starting at 50, rather than annually at age 40. I firmly believed this will lead to cancer being detected at later stages in many women and could lead to approximately 30 percent more breast cancer deaths.  I am certainly heartened by the news that many patients are choosing to ignore the 2009 guidelines and continuing to follow the recommendations of specialty groups, including the ACS and ACR.

Mammography is certainly not perfect, but it is the only imaging technique proven in large randomized controlled trials to reduce breast cancer mortality. The reality is that early detection is a first-line defense against breast cancer and even the most aggressive cancers are highly curable when caught at an early stage.

Screening mammography saves lives, which is why we continue to recommend that women be screened annually at age 40— to maximize early detection and save the most lives.

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UCSF Radiology Residency Program Ranks #1 in U.S.!

October 15, 2014

The UCSF Radiology Residency Program ranks #1 amongst the top rated diagnostic radiology residency programs in the nation, according to a U.S. News & World Report and Doximity survey. Read More…

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Don’t Just Use Social Media – Use it Responsibly

October 10, 2014

Social media represents a relatively simple technique to provide educational material in a format that is adapted to the learning styles that seem to be preferred by the “millennial” generation. Read More…

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Easing the MRI Experience for Patients with Claustrophobia

October 6, 2014

UCSF has taken several measures to help those who expect to feel claustrophobic during MRI. Read More…

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Catch Up on Women’s Imaging in Wine Country!

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A number of UCSF faculty members will present a comprehensive Women’s Imaging program in California’s Napa Valley on October 5-10, 2014. Read More…

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Raising Awareness of Childhood Cancer

September 23, 2014

In this country close to 16,000 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately one-quarter of them will not survive the disease. Here are questions for parents to consider asking in guiding their discussions with caregivers.
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NASA & UCSF: Combating Bone Loss in Space

September 17, 2014

Did you know that the effects of space travel on the human body are similar to those of aging over decades? Learn more about our NASA-funded research! Read More…

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Treating Stroke Patients with New Technology

September 12, 2014

Doctors from UCSF and around the world have been researching alternative methods and devices to treat stroke-causing blood clots. Read More…

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Register Now for October’s Neuro CME Course in San Francisco!

September 10, 2014

The UCSF Department of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging is excited to announce “Advances in Neuroimaging: Essentials to Cutting-Edge” to be held October 27- 31 in San Francisco! Read More…

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