Meet Dr. Julie Dohr, Medical Advisor for My Density Matters April 10, 2023
Dr. Julie Dohr, obstetrician/gynecologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Barrington, Illinois, believes all women should have access to quality healthcare including preventative care like breast cancer screening.
“Breast cancer is a very prevalent disease and the earlier that you can catch it, obviously the best chance that the patient has for a normal life without having excessive treatment and morbidity,” she said.
As the director of ultrasound services at Novas, Dohr, Coll & Gadson Ob/Gyn Associates & Medical Spa, Dr. Dohr prioritizes educating women with dense breasts on the importance of additional tests, like ultrasound, along with a mammogram. It’s part of her daily conversations with patients.
“The tests complement each other. They pick up different things. Mammograms pick up calcifications, and ultrasound picks up little cysts and little nodules,” she said. “One [test] is not better than the other. They need to be [done] together.”
When patients run into issues with an insurance company that denies coverage for additional screening, Dr. Dohr encourages them to get on the phone and put pressure on the insurer.
“This is a law in Illinois. Do the appeals and don’t give up. The more that insurance companies learn about it and know about it, the better coverage they’ll give,” she said.
While more people are getting the message that breast density matters, Dr. Dohr recognizes there’s work to do amongst patients and health care professionals. If your doctor isn’t talking to you about your breast density, Dr. Dohr says, don’t be shy. “It’s okay for a patient to educate their doctor and tell them, I think I need an ultrasound,” she said.
She also encourages women to make lifestyle choices that help prevent breast cancer such as exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, and decreasing alcohol intake. “There’s not much you can do to change the density of your breasts, but you can do other things that can affect your risk factors,” she explained.
However, density can change with age. “As you get older, the sad thing is that the nice breast tissue gets replaced by fatty tissue. So then fatty tissue is easy to see through and it’s not dense,” said Dr. Dohr, noting, if you go on hormone replacement, it can increase your density.
You can learn more about breast density and your screening options here, and be sure to sign up for the My Density Matters newsletter, and we’ll make sure you are in the know about the latest recommendations.
Meet other members of the My Density Matters Medical Advisory Board.