Can Your Mammogram also Screen You for Heart Disease?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, so I found this information very interesting.
Routine mammography—widely recommended for breast cancer screening—may also be a useful tool to identify women at risk for heart disease, potentially allowing for earlier intervention, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session.
“Many women, especially young women, don’t know the health of their coronary arteries. Based on our data, if a mammogram shows breast arterial calcifications it can be a red flag—an ‘aha’ moment—that there is a strong possibility she also has plaque in her coronary arteries,” said Harvey Hecht, M.D., professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and director of cardiovascular imaging at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, and lead author of the study.
Dr. Hect goes on to say, “The more breast arterial calcification a women has, the more likely she is to have calcium in her heart’s arteries as well. If all it requires is to take a closer look at the images, how can we ignore it?”
“This study raises questions about the potential long-term health implications of BACs and demonstrates a need to conduct additional large population-based studies to confirm BAC as a predictor of future development of cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director.
If this information is available on your mammogram, why not ask for it?
I have heart disease in my family. So, I am happy to take advantage of this extra screening! I am going to ask that the radiologists documents any breast arterial calcification in my final mammogram report.