A breast care specialist is a health care provider who focuses on diseases and abnormalities of the breast.
Health Care Services That a Breast Care Specialist Can Provide
Your primary care doctor or gynecologist will perform a basic physical examination of your breasts. Depending on your age, the results of your clinical breast examination, and factors like a family history of breast cancer she may refer you for a mammogram.
Those procedures are very valuable techniques for detecting diseases of the breast, particularly breast cancer, but some women have conditions that warrant more specialized breast care and treatment.
A breast care specialist can evaluate your breast health and diagnose diseases using a range of testing and state-of-the-art equipment. These tools are not always available at your general practitioner’s office.
Some of the tests a breast care specialist may perform on you that other health care providers do not usually perform include diagnostic, therapeutic, and monitoring services as described below.
Types of Diagnostic Testing
A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray examination of the breasts that is usually performed on a yearly basis to help detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. Mammograms are an effective way to detect cancer early with the goal of successfully treating and curing it.
A breast care specialist can perform a 3-D mammogram that offers patients faster and more accurate results than a traditional mammogram.
It is a state-of-the-art mammogram that converts the X-ray waves into electrical signals and transmits the image directly to your doctor’s computer. This allows the doctor to view the images remotely and manipulate them to study suspicious areas in detail.
A breast ultrasound is an imaging test that examines the tissues inside the breast using high-frequency sound waves. The sound waves create images of the breast tissue.
Ultrasound is often used to supplement a mammogram if more information is needed about a suspicious area of the breasts. For example, if the mammogram detects a lump, the ultrasound can advise if it is a benign fluid-filled cyst or a solid mass.
If a mammogram or ultrasound shows an abnormality, your breast care specialist may perform a breast MRI. The MRI produces multiple cross-sectional images of the breast in detailed 2-D and 3-D images.
It can be used to determine the extent of cancer conditions in the breast and detect other abnormalities in the breast once they are initially seen by a mammogram, ultrasound or manual breast examination.
Some women who are at very high risk for breast cancer will qualify for routine breast MRIs as a part of high risk breast cancer screening.
In some cases, the doctor cannot determine from the imaging procedures whether an abnormality is cancer.
Different biopsy devices may be utilized to extract tissue samples from the breast and the surrounding area, which are then sent to a pathology lab to determine whether or not it is cancerous. These biopsy devices are minimally invasive, but they allow the doctor to analyze the abnormal breast tissue in detail.
These biopsies can be performed in the doctor’s office using local anesthesia. They are very accurate, safe and less expensive than a traditional surgical biopsy. They are performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia in the doctor’s office.
One device used to take a biopsy is an ultrasound-guided vacuum-assisted device to extract tissue samples. The ultrasound can locate the abnormal tissues and guide the biopsy needle toward them.
Alternatively, the doctor may perform a stereotactic breast biopsy. Rather than using ultrasound, it uses special 3-D mammography equipment to guide the biopsy needle to the suspicious biopsy site.
Another type of biopsy is a sentinel lymph node biopsy, which is performed after breast cancer has been diagnosed. A sentinel lymph node biopsy is performed on lymph node tissue to determine if breast cancer has spread outside of the breast.
Types of Therapeutic Care
A breast care specialist can render therapeutic care to treat disease in the breast. Among the therapies available include:
Localization and Excision of Lesions
A breast lesion is an abnormality in the breast tissue that usually manifests itself as a lump, swelling or calcifications. They are frequently found through a physical breast exam, mammogram, ultrasound or MRI.
Most breast lesions are benign, but a breast care specialist should be consulted if a lesion is detected. It is not unusual to remove suspicious lesions surgically.
Treatment of Nipple Discharge and Bleeding
Nipple discharge can be a sign of a problem that needs treatment. Discharge can be caused by many different conditions, such as pregnancy, infection, hormone imbalance, breast cancer, injury, fibroadenomas, papilloma, cysts, and other diseases.
Any time a woman has nipple discharge, it needs to be evaluated by a doctor, particularly if blood is in the discharge, or if only one of the breasts is affected.
A mastectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the entire breast. It is one of the most effective treatment options for breast cancer because it removes all of the cancerous tissue.
A mastectomy can be performed in such a way that it preserves the skin or the nipple to allow for a more natural appearance after reconstruction of the breast.
Oncoplastic surgery of the breast employs new technology that provides effective medical and cosmetic results for breast cancer patients.
It can avoid the patient needing additional reconstructive procedures. This procedure often allows the patient to maintain and sometimes improve the shape and appearance of the breast following surgery.
Contact the Breast Care Specialists at Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness for More Information
The breast care specialists at Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness are ready to help you with any concerns you have about your breast health. Contact them today to schedule an appointment.