Health News Articles

When it Comes to Breast Cancer, Screenings are Key to Early Detection

Oct 13, 2013

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a perfect time for women who are due for a mammogram to schedule one.

The American Cancer Society has released an important finding — advanced breast cancer among women under the age of 40 is on the rise. The study indicates that between 1976 and 2009, the incidence of breast cancer that spread to the bones or other organs before being diagnosed tripled in women under 40. The highest increase was in women between the ages of 25 and 34.

“Clearly, the impression that breast cancer is something you need to worry about only when you are older is false. Breast cancer can strike anyone at any age,” says Rachel P. Dultz, MD, FACS,  Medical Director of the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP) Breast Health Center (pictured below). “That’s why breast health is so important and why regular breast self-exams and mammograms are essential.”

Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every one to two years, while women under the age of 40 who have any of the known risk factors for breast cancer should discuss appropriate screening with their doctors. Risk factors include a prior diagnosis of breast cancer, family history, inherited gene mutations (such as BTCA1 and BRCA2), radiation exposure as a child or young adult, obesity, beginning menstruation at a young age, having a first child after age 35, taking postmenopausal hormone therapy, and drinking alcohol.

UMCPP is nationally recognized for its excellence in a full spectrum of breast care, from preventive services like mammograms to advanced cancer treatments. The state- of-the-art UMCPP Breast Health Center is one of only about 5 percent of breast imaging facilities nationwide designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

Advanced breast imaging capabilities available at UMCPP’s main campus in Plainsboro include state-of-the-art 3.0T MRI and MRI breast biopsy services. The hospital's Breast Health Center in East Windsor offers sonographic and mammographic evaluations, as well as ultrasound-guided biopsies and stereotactic biopsies, which can be completed promptly following diagnosis.

“Our focus is on providing the best individualized preventive care, diagnostic services and treatment available,” says Christopher L. Ananian, MD, (pictured right) Director of Medical Imaging at the Breast Health Center. “The recipe for successful outcomes when it comes to breast cancer begins with early detection, which is a two-fold process: You, as the patient, need to follow the screening recommendations for your age and medical and family background, and we, as your healthcare providers, need to be equipped with the most advanced diagnostic equipment and skilled staff to identify any abnormalities and treat them promptly.”

For more information, or to schedule an appointment at the Breast Health Center, call 609.688.2700. To find a physician affiliated with the Princeton HealthCare System, call 1.888.PHCS4YOU (1.888.742.7496) or visit