With October being Breast Cancer Awareness, the Columbus Telegram spoke with Columbus Community Hospital radiologist Dr. Matthew Pieper. Here are some questions and answers related to breast cancer.
Question: How long have you been a practicing radiologist?
Answer: I have been practicing radiology for five years.
Q: Why did you decide to go into this specialty of medicine?
A: I enjoy using the tools of our imaging technology to help patients and referring providers make diagnoses and participate in ongoing management.
Q: What happens during a mammogram, at what age should people start having them and how often should people have them?
A: Women should start having mammograms at age 40 and they should be done annually.
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Q: What if a patient is at high risk due to a family history of breast cancer?
A: High risk patients should discuss their risk factors with their primary provider. Depending on the level of risk, some women should start screening before age 40 and some should receive other means of screening, such as breast MRI.
Q: Many people talk about self-examinations; why are they important to implement? Again, when should you start?
A: Self-examinations help women notice changes in their breasts, which may be a sign of malignancy.
Q: Why is it important to get tested and be proactive in your health care?
A: There are excellent breast cancer management tools, all of which are more effective the earlier a cancer is detected. Screening is our best chance of detecting breast cancer early.
Q: If someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, what treatments are available in Columbus?
A: Breast cancer management relies on a combination of surgery, medicine and/or radiation oncology, all of which are available in Columbus.