(09/17/13) - A new screening technique picks up breast cancers years before they show up on mammogram. It is also less painful, according to the doctors who are putting ForeCYTE to the test. In fact, they say, it may help cut breast cancer rates the same way pap smears have done for cervical cancer.
Daily exercise is a must for Susan Burkett, "just kind of get rid of all the stress in my life."
A top stressor? Breast cancer. Susan's breast density increases her risk and makes it harder for mammogram to spot.
"You can have a mammogram that's negative for nothing is suspicious, and by the time you go back for your next one there could be something there," Susan says.
Dr. Debra Dube says the ForeCYTE screening could help Susan and millions of others, "it's absolutely huge, and, to me, this is a new frontier."
Much like a pap smear, Dube says, the test detects pre-cancerous cells up to eight years before cancer arises, "so that we can treat much earlier, at the very beginning of a tumor formation."
Unlike a mammogram, the test is virtually painless. Dr. Dube uses a device similar to a breast pump to collect cells that line the milk ducts. The cells are then sent to a lab for analysis, helping women like Susan make an informed decision about her future.
"It's peace of mind, I think it's more than anything peace of mind," Susan says.
Dr. Dube says women over 40 should have the test every year, along with a mammogram. Women between 18 and 39 can also have the ForeCYTE test. The screening is covered by medicare and some private insurance.
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