Frequently Asked Questions

We have compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions below. If you would like more information or have questions which are not addressed here, we ask that you contact us directly.

How long is the wait for an appointment?
Dr. Lairet can typically see patients the same day, provided that medical records from the referring physician are received prior to the visit. Our office is open Monday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. & Friday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

How often are mammograms recommended?
The American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, as well as several other national organizations, recommend annual screening for women beginning at the age of 40.

Women who are at higher risk for breast cancer may need to begin screening mammography at an earlier age. Examples of such women are those with a strong family history of breast cancer or known carrier of the breast cancer gene, as well as women with a history of radiation to the chest.

What role do genetics play in breast cancer?
Less than 10% of breast cancers are related to genetic mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. In persons with these genetic mutations, the risk of developing breast cancer during her lifetime is up to 80%. The remaining 90% of breast cancers are sporadic, or with no genetic predisposition.

Should I have genetic testing for breast cancer?
A genetic counselor or oncologist will discuss the pros and cons of genetic testing with you if you are at higher risk for breast cancer. Genetic testing is considered for people with a family member with a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 (breast cancer susceptibility gene) mutation or with a family history of breast cancer occurring at a young age (age 50 or younger).

For more information about Northside's Cancer Genetics Program call 404-851-6284 or email

What are the risk factors for breast cancer?
Risk factors for breast cancer include personal or family history of breast cancer, especially if two or more first-degree relatives (mother, sister) were diagnosed before menopause. Additional risk factors include history of radiation to the chest at a young age and family members with mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

Read more about breast cancer risk factors.

Why is a breast ultrasound ordered? Is it a substitute for a mammogram?
A breast ultrasound forms images of the breast utilizing sound waves, not X-rays. No compression is required; gel is placed on the skin and an ultrasound probe is moved over the skin to obtain the image.

Ultrasound can often show abnormalities that might go undetected on mammography due to extremely dense breast tissue. It is commonly used to evaluate palpable masses, abnormalities found on mammography or to look at fluid-filled areas, such as cyst or abscess. Ultrasound is used most commonly in conjunction with mammography, not as a replacement for mammography.

Read more about breast ultrasound.

When is breast MRI recommended?
The American Cancer Society recommends screening breast MRI in the following instances:

  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
  • First degree relative with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
  • The lifetime risk of breast cancer is greater than 20%
  • History of radiation to the chest between the age of 10-30.

A breast MRI may also be recommended for cancer staging, to monitor response to chemotherapy in a person who has not yet had breast surgery, to monitor for recurrence of cancer in a person who has had a lumpectomy, or in other difficult-to-diagnose situations where other imaging modalities do not provide the needed information.

Read more about breast MRI.

Why not have a screening MRI instead of a mammogram?
MRI is a highly sensitive imaging study for the detection of breast cancer. Although it is highly sensitive, meaning it detects truly positive cases, MRI is not highly specific. This means it also finds non-cancerous lesions, or false positive results. This can lead to additional biopsies, cost and worry for the patient. General screening with MRI is not recommended, although it can be an important adjunct to mammography and ultrasound in certain instances.

Ready for an appointment?
Call our office to make an appointment or to refer a patient. Contact Us