WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- WUSA 9's Andrea Roane spoke to breast surgeon Dr. Anita McSwain a day before the Mammovan was set to screen people for breast cancer at Broadcast House.
Dr. McSwain talked to us about what happens if an abnormality is seen during your mammogram.
"Generally the first step is to do what we call a 'core biopsy.' We use a needle. If we determine it's a cancer, we can tell from that biopsy what type generally. Then we have a nice long discussion about treatment options," said McSwain.
If you didn't have insurance for a mammogram to begin with, how do you afford the biopsy? McSwain said, "Well, there are means in place through GW Medical Faculty and Associates to get the patients the care they need."
If you find the tumor early, it gives you more options for treatment.
"Definitely more options. Generally the options for the surgery. The goal of the surgery is to remove the cancer from the breast and normal tissue around it. The two options you generally have are a lumpectomy or partial partial. The other is a mastectomy," explained McSwain.
As far as what happens after surgery or for a patient who's been screened on the van, McSwin told us, "The nice thing at GW Medical Faculty and Associates is we have very much a team approach. Each week the surgeons, the radiologists, medical and radiation oncologist get together, talk about each patient. We get them in our system for a long-term follow-up. I'll see patients every six months for at least five years after their initial diagnosis and yearly afterward."