We customize everything in our lives, from the apps on our phone to our large, soy, skim, whip or no whip coffees. Why should breast health care be any different? Each woman is unique and so are her breasts. So today, after many years as a practicing radiologist, I ask you what I would ask any new patient who comes into my clinic: Do you have a breast health care regimen individualized to you?

Testing today

Traditionally, a one-size-fits-all approach was taken. Every woman was given a mammogram and women with strong family histories may have undergone additional screening.

However, most women who develop breast cancer do not have a strong family history. Tailoring your approach to breast cancer screening is not only about family history. Genetic dispositions, hormonal influences, personal history, ethnic background, age, breast density, environmental factors and personal preferences need to be considered. Now more than ever, it’s important to customize your breast health care to what makes sense for you based on all of these factors.

Forming a routine

So, how do you create an individualized regimen? Be proactive. Educate yourself and have conversations with your clinician. Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  1. What factors contribute to my risk of developing breast cancer?

  2. What are my screening options?

  3. What is my breast density?

  4. What are the different technologies used to screen for breast cancer?

  5. How do I know when and how often to get screened?

  6. How can I minimize my risk of developing breast cancer?

From there, consider developing a breast health regimen with your doctor that is customized for you.