October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Woman smiling This month, we remind our patients to take steps to have a plan to detect breast cancer in its early stages and to encourage the women in your life to do the same. This plan can be as simple as performing regular breast self-exams and scheduling your clinical breast exams and mammograms based on your age and health history.


The American Cancer Society recommends that women without breast symptoms who are 40 and older should have a mammogram every year*. While RAYUS-Puget Sound does not offer mammogram services, we have information for women preparing for their first mammogram. Beyond mammograms, our RAYUS centers in Federal Way and Lakewood do offer advanced Breast MRIs. MRI excels at imaging soft tissue and because of that, it is recommended for women with higher risk levels for breast cancer.

Is A Breast MRI Right For You?

Follow these guidelines from the American Cancer Society to help determine if you should talk to your doctor about a Breast MRI exam.

Recommended Annual Screening Indications

  • BRCA1 – Women with this gene mutation have a 60-80% chance of developing breast cancer over a lifetime
  • BRCA2 – Women with this gene mutation have a 40-80% chance of developing ovarian cancer over a lifetime
  • Women with a first-degree relative who is a BRCA carrier, but who is untested
  • Women with a lifetime risk of breast cancer of 20-25% or greater
  • Women who have had radiation to the chest area between the ages of 10-30 (usually for Hodgkin’s Disease)

Diagnostic Indications

  • Evaluation of suspicious clinical or imaging findings that remain indeterminate after a mammogram, ultrasound and physical exam
  • Finding the extent of infiltrating ductal carcinoma and infiltrating lobular carcinoma
  • Contralateral breast examinations in patients with breast malignancy
  • Evaluation before, during and after neoadjunvant chemotherapy
  • Evaluation pre- or post-lumpectomy
  • Suspected tumor recurrence in patients with or without post-operative tissue reconstruction
  • Checking for breast malignancy with primary tumor unknown (MRI can usually see the exact location of a mass to save the breast)
  • Checking for leakage in silicone augmentation (verify insurance coverage prior to exam)

If you need a Breast MRI, watch our video on the patient experience to better prepare you for the exam. For more information or to schedule a Breast MRI at RAYUS, call 425-291-8352.

*Updated as of October 2015: An annual screening mammogram is recommended for women beginning at age 40, according to the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI). The American Cancer Society also recommends that women have the choice of begin mammography screening at age 40. For the complete, updated ACS guidelines, click here. Then, talk with your provider to find out what’s best for you.