Most cancers are first detected in primary-care settings, and primary-care physicians often spearhead the process in the early phase. This can be especially true when it comes to breast cancer.

“From a primary-care standpoint, not every woman has a gynecologist whom they see regularly,” admits Millennium Physician Group Family Medicine Physician Nektarios Demetriou, D.O. “For most women over the age of 40, their primary-care physician has been involved with their care, knows their history, their values, and their preferences and is one of the first areas of defense in regards to any cancer.”

For breast cancer, family history is not the only risk factor you need to be aware of. Dr. Demetriou says your risk increases as you get older. “At age 50, your risk of getting breast cancer is 2.5 percent,” he says. “By age 70 it goes up to 7 percent.”

Mammograms remain the gold standard for screening and early breast cancer detection. Dr. Demetriou says today’s technology is so much better than in the past and the imaging has gotten so much more effective. “Like everything in family medicine, it’s about preventive care and educating the patient.”

If facing a cancer diagnosis, you’re encouraged to seek your primary-care provider’s input regarding treatment, because he or she can:

  • Translate and explain information from your oncologist
  • Be available for urgent care and prescription refills
  • Provide emotional support
  • Assist with coordinating care and communicating with specialists
  • Address other medical conditions that might be caused by treatment

Dr. Demetriou emphasizes the value of the connection a primary-care physician establishes with their patients. He advises if you do find a lump or notice changes in your breast and you’re not happy with what your doctor advises regarding monitoring or follow up, do not hesitate to ask to be referred to breast specialist. “When in doubt check it out,” says Dr. Demetriou. “Your primary-care physician should be willing to listen to your concerns.”

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Dr. Nektarios Demetriou, D.O.

Millennium Physician Group

2649 Windguard Circle, Suite #101

Wesley Chapel, FL 33544

(813) 723-1303

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