After undergoing a lumpectomy, Karen McGowan of Swedesboro faced questions that thousands of women face every year. Will I need chemo? Radiation? Some other treatment? And because it was March 2020, another question was on her mind. Would she be comfortable going to a hospital for treatment just as COVID-19 was arriving in South Jersey?
Our Continued Focus on Detecting - and Preventing - Breast Cancer
By John DiAngelo, Inspira Health President and CEO
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In our focus to breast cancer research, detection and prevention at Inspira Health, I’m pleased to say that we have added to our arsenal a new way to try to help prevent breast cancer from forming. We have developed a powerful, high-risk assessment program with the goal of reducing the risk of breast cancer. It’s called Inspira Insight.
Our typical method for detecting breast cancer is the mammogram. While this test remains the gold standard for detecting cancer, we are developing new ways to understand a person’s risk. Now, following each mammogram, patients can fill out a short, digital questionnaire about their health history. All it takes is about 10 minutes. This assessment evaluates whether you’re at risk for breast, ovarian, gastric, colorectal, pancreatic and endometrial cancer, as well as the skin cancer melanoma.
We then use a powerful digital platform to compare your responses to existing data. This enables us to evaluate responses and mammogram results against evidence-based guidelines to identify patients with a higher than average risk for developing genetically based cancers.
If your Inspira Insights, along with your mammogram results, alert us to what we call genetic “red flags,” you will meet with a care provider from our high-risk cancer team to carefully review your questionnaire results, answer any questions you have and discuss your options for further prevention.
Sometimes, as a next step, we recommend genetic testing to look for mutations that could lead to cancer. We’ll explain the pros and cons of that process and take a blood sample for testing at that time. Based on those results, your team will work closely with you to determine your long-term care plan, testing, education and counseling.
In addition to this new, innovative process, we’re also encouraging our patients who think they may benefit from an assessment to ask their Inspira doctor about it. We want to give our patients all of the tools and information they need to live healthy, full lives. If you know that cancer is part of your family’s medical history, you may want to be assessed now. In this case, knowledge truly is power.
At Inspira, we are working diligently to understand all types of cancer, figure out how and why they form, and prevent them when we can. We’re dedicated to cancer prevention during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and all throughout the year at Inspira.