Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Simple blood draw can give patients with inconclusive mammogram results peace of mind

Published: May. 23, 2017 at 1:02 PM CDT
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For patients with abnormal or difficult-to-interpret mammograms, breast imaging has known limitations. This can lead to uncertainty about whether or not immediately follow-up is needed and patient anxiety.

Now, a simple blood draw called ‘Videssa’ can help alleviate this problem and give patients peace of mind.

“My great grandma was 35 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. My grandma was 46 when she was diagnosed and 49 when she passed away. And my mom was 53 when she was diagnosed,” said Aimee Deckert.

With Deckert’s family history, breast cancer has always been in the back of her mind.

“It’s just that scary reality that to me, it seemed like it’s not if I get breast cancer, it’s when,” said Deckert.

Deckert made it her mission to be proactive and stay on top of getting screened. Since age 30, she’s been getting a mammogram or breast MRI twice a year.

“I didn’t want my kids to have to go through the worry like I had to with my mom,” said Deckert.

But when Decker’s last test came back inconclusive, she thought the worst.

“I did more ultrasound and then another MRI and things were still inconclusive. And so that fear just really grew, really grew,” said Deckert.

That’s when breast surgeon Dr. Tricia Merrigan told Deckert about Videssa – a simple blood draw that helps determine if you have breast cancer.

“To be able to say this is a blood test and if it’s negative, there’s a 98.6% chance that you don’t have breast cancer right now. And the vast majority of people are ‘hey that sounds good. That’s a good idea. Let’s get this figured out.’ So we send the patient to the lab. They get a blood draw and then that blood is processed appropriately and frozen within a certain amount of time and then sent to the lab that processes the test. And basically, they’re looking for specific protein biomarkers in the blood that would indicate that there’s a breast cancer that’s present,” said Dr. Merrigan.

“And to me, that was just an instant, that was a no-brainer. That was easy, of course I’m going to have the blood test done,” said Deckert.

Deckert’s test came back negative. Her blood was free of the proteins that could signal the presence of breast cancer.

“And it was just this huge wave of relief. I was just completely, all was well. I didn’t need to worry. So I went from that extreme, extreme worry to the complete polar opposite. I didn’t have to be scared at all anymore. That blood test, that was totally non-invasive, meant that I could stay whole. I didn’t have to have anything removed or any more poking or prodding,” said Deckert.

“It really was the right decision to give her that peace of mind and know that at that moment in time, she didn’t have a breast cancer to worry about,” said Dr. Merrigan.

It is important to note, Videssa helps determine whether you have breast cancer at the moment in time, not your future risk of developing the disease.

For more information, just call 877-AT-AVERA.