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In August 2020, then 38-year-old Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding announced she had been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer earlier in the year. She shared with her fans at that time that the cancer had spread to other areas of her body and she was undergoing a treatment plan. Harding is also known for being a reality television star, having appeared in the shows Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity MasterChef, and others.
Now, Harding is opening up more about her battle with breast cancer and revealed she was told by her doctor that she would probably never enjoy another holiday season.
Her Journey With Advanced Stage Breast Cancer
Since her diagnosis last year, Harding has undergone both chemotherapy and a mastectomy to try to get the cancer under control. Despite her treatments and surgical procedures, her cancer was already too advanced, and the spreading continued. It has now spread throughout her body, including her brain.
To pass time at the hospital, Harding started writing about her illness and the journey she’s been on, saying to the New York Times that she wanted to encourage more women to seek medical advice the moment they find something in their breasts and to not use COVID-19 as an excuse to avoid seeing a doctor.
At AdventHealth, we know that underlying medical conditions often go undetected for too long without regular preventive care. But even during a pandemic, and even with a busy schedule, your health should always be a priority.
The Key to Lifesaving Early Detection
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S. Annual mammograms are still the top recommended screening for women,” says Wassim Mchayleh, MD, Medical Oncologist at AdventHealth Cancer Institute. Screenings allow the earliest possible detection of breast cancer — even before you experience symptoms.
A mammogram is such a powerful tool because of its ability to catch breast cancer early. In fact, it can detect breast cancer up to two years before a tumor can be felt by you or your doctor.
Catching cancer early means:
- Therapies like breast conservation therapy will be most effective
- Treatment can begin early, possibly before the cancer spreads to other parts of your body
- You’ll have the best possible chance for a cure
“Many women with breast cancer have no symptoms. According to the American Cancer Society, many decades of research show women who have regular mammograms are more likely to have breast cancer found early, are less likely to need aggressive treatment like surgery or chemotherapy and are more likely to be cured,” explains Dr. Mchayleh.
“Breast cancer can affect women at any age, but the risk goes up with age. Mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and even at a younger age in certain women who are at higher risk.”
Know Your Risk for Breast Cancer
It’s important to know your risk for breast cancer. Some risk factors you can control, like your weight and lifestyle. Others you can’t, including:
- Density of breast tissue
- Family history of breast cancer
- First menstrual period before age 12
- Genetic mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2
- History of fibroids or other benign breast conditions
- Race and ethnicity
When you understand the breast cancer risk factors you can control, you can manage them better with the guidance of physicians who have your whole health in mind.
We’re Taking Extra Steps for Safety at Your Mammogram Appointment
Breast cancer screening at AdventHealth is focused on one thing: protecting your whole health. And with the current circumstances, that means taking extra safety measures for your protection and peace of mind.
Everyone who steps foot through our doors will have their temperature checked. This happens for the protection of all of our patients and staff, and our universal mask policy means everyone must wear a mask inside our facilities — team members, clinicians, patients and visitors. We provide both our employees and our patients with masks as they enter our facilities.
We’ve also redesigned our waiting areas and lines to accommodate at least 6 feet of social distancing space in between our patients.
Feel Empowered With Preventive Care
If you’re between the ages of 20 and 40, you should have a clinical breast exam by your doctor at least every three years. If you’re 40 or older, an annual screening mammogram may be recommended by your doctor.
Our breast cancer screenings are focused on one thing: protecting your whole health. Your long-term well-being is important to us — and taking the first step is up to you. Make an appointment for your screening mammogram today by visiting ScheduleYourMammo.com .