While it would be a huge relief for a patient to find out a growth in her breast is noncancerous, she might still require follow-up care. That’s where Dr. Dana Scott comes in.
Scott, who recently joined UConn Health’s obstetrics and gynecology team at the Charlotte Johnson Hollfelder Center for Women’s Health, specializes in breast health and cancer genetics. In addition to providing routine OB/GYN care, Scott is referred patients who have breast issues that aren’t cancer.
These might include breast pain, breast infections, noncancerous lumps, and fibroadenomas. Some patients with benign breast disease may need an excision while others simply need continuing check-ups. Additionally, she sees patients at high risk for breast and gynecologic malignancies due to their family history and/or a genetic mutation.
“Benign breast disease is a common issue that arises, but it’s not something that typically has received a lot of focus in medical care,” Scott says.
Being able to develop a benign breast disease program, which is unique in the area, drew Scott to UConn Health, she says. “The chair of my department [Dr. Molly Brewer] was very open-minded and eager to have someone with a different background and training. The surgical oncologist [Dr. Christina Stevenson] was very open to working with me and developing a mechanism for women with benign breast diseases to receive care.”
As part of an American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology committee, Scott is working to develop new screening guidelines for those at risk for early-onset breast cancer, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Scott stresses that it is important for OB/GYN and primary care doctors to get good family histories from patients. They should also lower their threshold for referring patients to a genetic counselor.
“Genetic testing for risks of breast, ovarian, and other cancers has become a lot more accessible and affordable,” she says.
In addition to her unique background, patients will find a listening ear in Scott.
“I try to really listen to my patients and spend the appropriate amount of time with them to hear their concerns,” she says. “Especially with the breast patients, a lot of them are really worried that they have breast cancer, and when they learn they don’t, having someone who can listen to them, thoroughly examine them, and provide follow-up and reassurance is really important.”