Fast Five with Dr. Juliana Ballestero
Eastern Radiologists is proud to welcome Juliana Ballestero, MD, a dedicated breast imager who joined our practice in January 2019. She attended medical school at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Ballestero completed an Internal Medicine internship at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, and her Diagnostic Radiology residency at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She also received additional subspecialty fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
What attracted you to Eastern Radiologists?
Eastern Radiologists’ reputation drew me to the practice, and more specifically, to the Breast Imaging Center. The fact that every breast imaging study is interpreted by a radiologist that is very experienced in this specific field shows how this practice promotes a culture of subspecialization, something that is not commonplace but should be expected as it is in the best interest of the patients.
What made you choose Breast Imaging for your concentration?
I am a body imager by fellowship training but, for varied reasons, I chose to dedicate my career to breast imaging in 2008. I was taught the art and science of breast imaging by experts in the field and unexpectedly found that I truly enjoy this subspecialty. Not only do I get to interpret multimodality imaging studies and perform image-guided procedures, but I also have the opportunity to comfort patients as I help them understand the issues that are associated with screening mammography, biopsies, and potentially a cancer diagnosis. At times, this interaction has led to long-term doctor-patient relationships, something that is quite unusual in Radiology.
What are your thoughts on the recent recommendations by various groups and task forces to delay mammograms until age 50?
I wholeheartedly disagree. I stand behind the American College of Radiology, the Society of Breast Imaging, and the American Society of Breast Surgeons in continuing to recommend that women of average risk start getting annual mammograms at age 40. This is the key to early detection which not only saves lives but also allows us to use less aggressive treatments.
You have spent time in various areas of the US. Are there areas you miss, or would prefer to be?
I have lived in many different parts of our great country. I grew up in the Washington DC area and went to college in southern Texas. My medical education took me eastern and western Pennsylvania as well as southern California. I finally settled in the Tidewater region of Virginia where I have lived since 2003. Yes … the heat, humidity, and critters sometimes get to me, but I find the people and culture of the South very warm and inviting. Although I prefer the cold, I am happy to call the South my home.
How do you prefer to spend your free time?
My family has a small, working farm in south central Virginia where we raise cattle, goats, and guinea hogs. This keeps me fairly busy in my spare time but it also allows me spend lots of time outdoors with my husband and daughter while we tend to the animals and fields. We also enjoy hiking and biking the many trails on and around the farm.