Everviolet Chats: AnaMarie Goscila, RN & Chief of Clinical Operations at Eve Wellness

Instead of waiting until we're in our 40s to start thinking about breast health, it's important that we begin educating ourselves at a much earlier age, especially if we have dense breast tissue and/or a family history of cancer. As we know, breast cancer doesn't discriminate, and many young women are diagnosed early with no known risk factors. That's why we chatted with AnaMarie Goscila, a trained healthcare professional and the Chief of Clinical Operations at Eve Wellness, to gain knowledge about early screening. Eve Wellness is a San Francisco-based breast wellness clinic in which FDA-Approved ultrasound technology is coupled with Artificial Intelligence to detect breast cancer earlier, more frequently and with no risk of radiation exposure. Read our newest Everviolet Chats to learn more.  

How did your career path as healthcare advisor and nurse coach lead you to Eve Wellness?

Working over 14 years in Interventional Radiology as a critical care nurse, I witnessed many patients become confused, frustrated and anxious when trying to navigate the healthcare system. Many patients often expressed how hard it was to find efficient, quality care.

For my studies, I attended nursing school at University of San Francisco, then Duke University and graduated as an advanced holistic nurse, health disease management and integrative nurse coaching. I transitioned into women’s health, patient advocacy, and disease management/prevention which led me to Eve wellness — the timing could not have been more perfect! Currently, I’m thrilled to lead my team and help screen women early, promoting women’s health and wellness.

Can you please tell us a little bit about Eve Wellness. How did it get started and what is their mission?

After watching friends and loved ones battle breast cancer, Eve Wellness set out to find solutions and offer early breast cancer detection. Through careful research of rapidly-developing ultrasound imaging, Artificial Intelligence technology and in collaboration with breast cancer experts, Eve Wellness identified the safest and most advanced screening technology available today. This screening is used by some of the country's leading breast wellness clinics.

Eve Wellness' mission is to screen women early (and more often) with ease, comfort and convenience, as well as offer screening access at a younger age. Early detection saves lives. It’s more comfortable than a mammogram, and there is no risk of radiation exposure.

What is special or different about the technology you use at Eve Wellness? How does it work?

We use the most advanced, sole FDA-approved screening device called GE Automated Breast Ultrasound System. It's not handheld, and it has AI Detection, QVCAD. This kind of technology requires the use of a breast specialist physician and can only be found in a handful of locations around the country. This AI whole-breast ultrasound takes over 3,000 images per screening, set in a comfortable boutique setting. Eve Wellness is one of the only screening centers in the US that feels more like a spa than a clinic

For breast cancer screening, do you suggest getting an ultrasound over a mammogram? What are the main differences? 

Automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) and mammogram both serve different and important purposes for screening women. Patients should follow their doctors recommendations for mammogram and complete a secondary screening using ABUS ultrasound. Based upon my experience, I recommend that women start screening early with ABUS ultrasound and QView CAD AI technologies. Not only can they detect cancer before a lump can even be felt, they see through dense breast tissue that can hide cancer in a mammogram. 

"ABUS is an ultrasound technique that tends to be used as secondary screening in the evaluation of patients with dense glandular breasts. Patients with dense breasts have an increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to patients with fatty breasts. Ultrasound increases the detection rate of breast cancer, improves the workflow, and reduces the examination time. Dense tissue is an independent risk factor in the development of breast cancer, the risk being 6–8 times higher than in women with fatty breasts. Therefore additional imaging modalities, ABUS ultrasound are required to improve cancer detection." (Boca Bene I, Ciurea AI, Ciortea CA, Dudea SM. Pros and Cons for Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS): A Narrative Review. J Pers Med. 2021 Jul 23;11(8):703. doi: 10.3390/jpm11080703. PMID: 34442347; PMCID: PMC8400952.)

Why is early detection with Advanced Ultrasound so important?

Early detection with advanced AU is so important because the earlier cancer is found, the more options patients have. There are treatments that are much less aggressive, while still maintaining incredibly positive outcomes, and mortality rates are drastically decreased. In other words, more lives are saved. We can often see lesions and breast cancer using ultrasound technology that sometimes goes undetected in mammograms, especially in women with dense breast tissue. 

As a woman and healthcare professional, when should we start screening ourselves?

Start screening with ultrasound yearly when you are in your late 20s or early 30s to get a baseline assessment of your breast health and be able to monitor changes. Eve Wellness' ABUS whole breast ultrasound uses ZERO radiation — it's easy, convenient and comfortable. 

Where is Eve Wellness located and how can we get a screening? What if we don’t live in the Bay Area?

Eve Wellness' flagship location is located in the Marina District of San Francisco, California at 2102 Union Street. You can visit our website at www.myevewellness.com and book a same day appointment. Results are provided in less than 48 hours after a physician reads all of the images. At this time, we are open Tuesday through Saturday.

If you don't live in the Bay Area, advocate for your breast health and ask your doctor for secondary screening options. This entails screening with ultrasound plus mammography if you have dense breast tissue. 

There’s so much medical information out there and often, we need to make life-changing decisions based on that information. Where can we find reliable sources we can trust?

Educational journals from UCLA and UCSF are a great resources. Also, www.cancer.org, and www.nih.gov/health-information.

You’re also a wellness integrative coach. Are there ways to reduce your breast cancer risk if you have dense breast tissue?

Screen more frequently and do secondary screening using ultrasound technology like we provide at Eve Wellness. Minimize alcohol consumption and if possible, minimize or avoid high doses of hormone replacement therapy. Consume nutrient-rich, clean foods with no hormones or pesticides, and increase your intake of vitamin D and B12. Stay physically active, and maintain a healthy weight. Get 200-300 minutes of moderate intensity or 100-150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these).

When it comes to women’s health, what is one area you wish more people had awareness about?

I wish people had more awareness around patient's rights - how to receive accurate information and education on health conditions/diseases and how to advocate for their health. I encourage people to ask about genetic testing and breast health screening starting as early as the late 20s. Also, learn more about hormone health - the health impact of products you use on your skin (our largest organ) and the foods you consume. Check for ingredients and hormones in personal care products, and minimize or stop using products with toxic ingredients. Eve Wellness will be offering other services, such as genetic testing, bone health and menopausal support soon. Come visit us in San Francisco!

Burnout is real in the healthcare industry. How do you find balance in your life?

Burnout is real, and I experienced healthcare burnout. I made a big shift in my life to set boundaries around when to say "NO" and practice self care daily for my body, mind and spirit. I move my body everyday. I enjoy trail running, teaching pilates, ballet, yoga and sailing. I love getting out on the water, as it brings me peace. My day starts with movement and ends with meditation. I eat a mostly raw, plant based diet, and reserve one day a week to practice self care and nourish my body. I love to travel, attend lectures, see music and art shows, host lifestyle events and paint in my spare time. Self care and prioritizing "YOU" time weekly is critical for our overall health and well being. I learned this skill again in my advanced integrative coaching program. 

 “Beauty of Change” is our motto at Everviolet. What does that mean to you?

Beauty of Change is powerful. Change allows me to see life through a new lens.The first step to change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. As a nurturer and woman passionate about health and wellness, I seek to see beauty in times of change.