LCI-LWI AI Breast Screen HERO


Revolutionizing Screening: The Future of Early Detection for Breast Cancer

Baptist Health Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute

Cutting-edge technology, including expanded genetic testing, artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D mammography, is poised to transform the breast cancer screening process. Experts at Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute and Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health, are using these tools to better identify high-risk individuals, potentially preventing or delaying the disease as well as detecting cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most curable.


Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S. Nearly 300,000 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2023, according to the American Cancer Society. While the incidence of breast cancer has risen in recent years, the death rate has dropped.


Artificial intelligence boosts detection

An early adopter of AI, Kathy Schilling, M.D., medical director of Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute, began using the technology in 2020. “We were already outperforming national expected detection rate benchmarks from the American College of Radiology,” Dr. Schilling says. “But with AI, we are finding cancers years before we would find them without AI.”


Kathy Schilling, M.D., medical director of Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital


The technology flags suspicious areas for a more thorough look by the physician. The Institute is the only site in South Florida that offers this particular AI-enhanced digital breast imaging. The team of dedicated breast radiologists analyze about 100 mammograms daily.


Since implementing AI, their detection rate has improved 23 percent, Dr. Schilling says. “In the past, if we found 100 cancers, today with AI we will find 123. This is significant, because finding a cancer earlier could mean that a patient may not require chemotherapy or radiation therapy,” she says. “The types of cancers we are currently finding are smaller and of lower stage, reducing the need for advanced treatments.”


Genetic testing can provide vital information

One of the newest initiatives by the institutes is an expanded cancer genetic screening and testing program in conjunction with the Morgan Pressel Center for Cancer Genetics. If indicated through the screening, women who come to the Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute for a mammogram are now asked if they would like to give a saliva sample for testing.


Louise Morrell, M.D., medical director of Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital


Genetic testing, which has rapidly advanced, looks for mutations in 48 genes that put individuals at a higher risk of cancer, including breast cancer. While most people are aware that mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can greatly affect risk, many don’t know that inherited mutations in other genes, including PALB2, ATM, BARD1, CHEK2, RAD51C, RAD51D and TP53 also increase the odds of developing cancer.


“If a mutation in one of these genes is discovered, there are steps that can be taken to reduce risk or detect cancer early,” says Louise Morrell, M.D., medical director of Lynn Cancer Institute. Genetic counseling is recommended so that patients understand how the results may affect their health as well as that of other family members.


“The information about a patient’s particular genetic mutation also helps guide our treatment plan if they do get a cancer diagnosis,” Dr. Morrell says.


3D mammography

Physicians with Baptist Health Cancer Care follow the recommendation of the American College of Radiology, which advises yearly mammograms beginning at age 40 for women of average risk. The doctors also say that younger women with a strong family history of cancer, a known genetic mutation or an ethnic or minority status that places them at high risk should begin earlier screening.


It is recommended, the doctors say, that every woman, but particularly Ashkenazi Jewish and minority women, have a formal risk assessment before age 30 to determine if they are above average risk. If so, they may be advised to begin screening before age 40.


Baptist Health facilities use the most sophisticated 3D mammography technology, as does the Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute’s MammoVan. The mobile service visits some 200 sites in Palm Beach County each year, offering mammograms at community events and through business partnerships.


Cancer genetic testing and counseling are available at both Lynn Cancer Institute and Miami Cancer Institute. Visit to schedule your screening mammogram. You can also schedule your screening mammogram through PineApp.


Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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