October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which serves as an annual reminder of all of the brave individuals who have been affected by this disease, as well those who have overcome it. This yearly reminder is an important time to reflect on the statistics, and what we can do to best combat breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. For women in the U.S., breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death, second only to lung cancer. Fortunately, the overall death rate from breast cancer has decreased by 1.3% per year from 2013 to 2017. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances and earlier detection through screening.
It is recommended that women of all ages do a breast self-exam to check for lumps once a month. A physician may also perform a breast exam at annual wellness checks. If there is any abnormal pain, or a lump is detected, the physician will recommend a diagnostic mammogram.
Mammograms detect approximately 87% of all breast cancers and have significantly decreased the number of deaths due to the disease. It is recommended that women over the age of 40 receive a yearly mammogram. Women aged 30 and over with a family history of female cancers or the BRCA gene mutation could also receive a baseline mammogram.
The earlier breast cancer is detected, the higher the chance of remission. There are several factors that can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer, and the first step in the fight against breast cancer is having an annual screening mammogram. Mammography is currently the gold standard for detecting breast cancer. It is understood that the exam can be mildly uncomfortable, however, we believe it is well worth it to endure a few moments of discomfort to live a long, healthy life.
Windom Area Health Imaging Services offers mammograms 5 days a week to better accommodate our busy lives. You can call 507-831-0670 to schedule your mammogram. We also have the added benefit of the Edith Sanford Mobile 3D truck serving us 2 Mondays a month for those that need the 3D mammogram. You may also call 507-831-0670 to schedule a mammogram with the truck. All mammograms performed at Windom Area Health are read by the Sanford radiologists. Our radiologists are Breast Fellowship trained radiologists which means they specialize in breast imaging to better serve our patients.
The best protection is early detection. Early detection saves lives!
By Tori Mortinsen, RDMS, RVT