Q&A: What to Tell Women about Preventive Care

Dana Bonaminio, M.D., Women’s Imaging National Subspecialty Lead from Radiology Partners, offers tips and guidance on what providers should make sure women know about their breast health.

As Radiology Partners’s National Subspecialty Lead (NSL) for Women’s Imaging and a breast imaging radiologist in Nashville, the focus for Dana Bonaminio, M.D., is on women’s health. With this week being National Women’s Health Week, Bonaminio shared more on her subspecialty, her role, and what she believes women should know about preventative care.

Diagnostic Imaging: What do you feel is important for every woman to know about breast health?

Bonaminio: Taking an active role in your own breast health is empowering! Consider a few basics for preventative care regarding your breasts. First, get your annual mammogram for those over age 40 as recommended by the Society of Breast Imaging and American College of Radiology. Additionally, scheduling regular clinical exams may assist with early detection and identification of breast problems.

Second, know your risk factors for developing breast cancer - such as family history and breast density - which may help your health providers facilitate more rigorous screening techniques if necessary, including genetic testing, tomosynthesis, and other screening modalities, such as breast MRI. Maintaining a healthy active lifestyle is also critical to reducing risk of many medical diseases, including breast cancer. Lastly, being your own advocate and knowing your own body is essential to maintaining breast health.

Diagnostic Imaging: We’ve seen that many exams and screenings were canceled at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s the best way for women to get back on their preventative screening schedule?

Bonaminio: Given that many breast centers halted non-urgent examinations, a large cohort of March-to-May screening patients may have missed their 2020 examinations. I would urge patients to consider returning to their imaging facilities, as your radiologists are committed to your health and wellness. Skipping a year will result in a delay in cancer diagnosis in some patients. Safety practices are now widespread, including temperature scanning, social distancing, masking, limiting numbers of patients in waiting areas and visitors in breast centers. Consider calling your breast center to learn more about their safety precautions. I would also encourage our referring providers to emphasize the importance of screening mammography. Remember, breast cancer doesn’t stop, even in a pandemic.

Diagnostic Imaging: What drew you to breast imaging as a subspecialty?

Bonaminio: Being an active part of patient care and having the opportunity to impact women’s health in the early detection of breast cancer and other breast-related issues is a great honor! I love my patients and thoroughly enjoy working as a team to ensure the overall best outcome for each patient.

Diagnostic Imaging: What are you focused on in your role as NSL for Women’s Imaging?

Bonaminio: Establishing best practices to unify and standardize practice patterns across all Radiology Partners breast facilities and women’s imaging centers is critically important, while being mindful and inclusive of all our patient population. Having standardized screening guidelines, as well as accurate identification of high-risk patients is paramount to aid early detection of breast cancer.

Goals across Radiology Partners breast practices should focus on efforts to improve workflow efficiency, which serves to decrease the time to diagnosis, while maintaining the importance of personal interaction with our patients, referring physicians and colleagues. Engaging our collective Radiology Partners expertise as a community to improve our service line, as well as utilizing a standardized platform to capture accreditation and quality metrics, will further demonstrate a radiologists’ value to the clinical teams involved in breast care and women’s imaging.

Dana Bonaminio, M.D., is the National Subspecialty Lead for Women’s Imaging, the largest physician-led and physician-owned radiology practice in the United States. You can find Radiology Partners on their websiteTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.