Sept. 1, 2017 | Since she was in her early 30s, Tracy Lamey has been coming to the UAMS Breast Center twice a year for breast imaging. Her mother was diagnosed at 39 with breast cancer, so that put Lamey at high risk for the disease.
“I come here because of the state-of-the-art technology,” Lamey said. “I also feel that the staff and my physician are very knowledgeable about the latest guidelines and what is best for my overall health. And I get my results before I leave. That not only gives me a plan of what needs to happen next, it eliminates the anxiety that sometimes comes with waiting.”
Gwendolyn Bryant-Smith, M.D., is chief of Breast Imaging at UAMS. She says the UAMS Breast Center is a one-stop shop with highly trained professionals at every helm. Today breast imaging is more than a mammogram.
At UAMS, there are three fellowship-trained radiologists and a fourth radiologist with years of experience. Each is skilled at interpreting mammography, breast ultrasound, and breast MRI and performing breast biopsy procedures. Digital breast tomosynthesis, better known as a 3D mammogram — the newest mammography technology — is offered at the UAMS Breast Center. Bryant-Smith says it is an evolution of the 2D mammogram and was FDA approved in 2011. UAMS has had this technology since 2014.
“The value in a 3D mammogram is that we’re able to see through dense tissue. Dense tissue makes it very challenging to find cancer because it shows up white on a screen. Cancer is also white. It’s hard to differentiate between the two using 2D mammography. When using 3D mammography, we are often able to detect subtle masses that may not otherwise be seen.”
Bryant-Smith said the Breast Imaging Center does risk assessments on every patient.
“We ask them about family history, whether they’ve had children, taken hormones or had previous biopsies,” Bryant-Smith said. “Using that information, we calculate a number. Patients who score higher than 20 percent, are considered to be at high risk for developing breast cancer.”
The center offers additional screening with breast MRI for those patients considered high risk for developing breast cancer. Lamey has had a routine breast MRI for many years.
“It’s a quick procedure, 45 minutes and painless” Lamey said. “The imaging techs are very caring and thorough. I like that they’re able to see a lot more, and my physician shows me those images.”
Since she’s been going to the breast center Lamey has had three biopsies.
“For each of my biopsy results, my doctor called me personally,” Lamey said. “As soon as she gets the results, she immediately calls. The personal aspect has been huge, and it’s very important to me.”
“We really want to serve the patients of Arkansas well,” Bryant-Smith said. She encourages women to begin screening annually once they turn 40, or sooner if they’re at an increased risk. Screening mammography saves lives, she said.
“I have a family,” Lamey says. “I want to make sure I’m taking care of myself so that I can be there for them. The Breast Imaging team at UAMS gives me confidence that I’m doing everything I can to prevent cancer for myself.”