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Easing Breast Cancer Anxiety: April 6, 2011

"We need you to come back for more testing." It's a phrase that no man or woman wants to hear. "We're trying to provide them with answers in as short of a time as possible because the minute you say, 'come back for an extra review' they're already thinking cancer," says Dr. Mai Saif, a diagnostic radiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

This is especially true when it comes to women. "Every single woman that comes in is very anxious. Extremely anxious."

Dr. Saif has had to request women to come back in for additional mammograms or breast scans. A request that doesn't always mean bad news. "All we're trying to do is separate the tissues on the mammogram to show that what we saw was not a real finding." No matter how many times we tell them, 'listen don't worry. You know, we think it's going to be okay. We just want to be sure', until they get the final answer, they're not happy."

New technology is helping radiologists get answers quicker and much more accurately. "The mammograms are becoming digital. The ultrasounds have become more sensitive. The MRI has become very dedicated and very sophisticated."

Dr. Saif adds that because of this advanced technology, doctors are getting a clearer picture faster, easing some of the patient's wait-time stress. "If we can't provide that with an initial time and give them results within a short time, again, the anxiety level is very high."

Technology and advanced testing that's not only aiding in the fight against beast cancer, but aiding in the emotional struggle as well.