October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a health observance where the importance of breast awareness, education and research is highlighted by people and organizations worldwide, including AdventHealth Gordon.
Last year, many people put off preventative care and screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many things have changed during the pandemic, but your commitment to your health and those you love shouldn’t be one of them. Getting a mammogram isn’t something women should delay. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S. and having your annual mammogram could be lifesaving.
“Screening mammograms find breast cancer earlier,” said Craig Box, MD, surgical oncologist and medical director of the Edna Owens Breast Center. “An earlier stage diagnosis typically equates with a higher cure rate, a better quality of life and simpler care.”
Annual mammograms are still the top-recommended screening for women because it allows the earliest possible detection of issues before you experience symptoms. Catching breast cancer early means:
- Therapies like breast conservation therapy will be most effective
- Treatment can begin early, possibly before cancer spreads to other parts of your body
- You’ll have the best possible chance for recovery
“Localized breast cancer is 98 percent curable when caught early,” said Lanell Jacobs, director of oncology services at AdventHealth Gordon. “That is why it is so important for women to get their mammograms at the appropriate age.”
It is recommended that women begin getting mammograms at age 40 unless there is a family history of breast cancer. If you’re between ages 20 and 40, you should have a clinical breast exam by your doctor every three years. The Edna Owens Breast Center at AdventHealth Gordon offers the latest 3D SmartCurve mammogram technology backed by a team of breast care experts who are compassionate and caring. The center serves the community as a one-stop, patient-focused center for the rapid diagnosis and comprehensive treatment of breast diseases.
The Edna Owens Breast Center also offers genetic testing to assess breast cancer risk in patients and help determine appropriate care for those already diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing is the only way to determine if someone has a mutation, such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, that can increase the risk of developing breast cancer and other cancers. This allows the patient and their physician to take steps to manage those risks. To see if genetic testing is right for you, discuss your risk factors with your physician.
“Genetic testing is extremely useful for those with a family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer,” said Jacobs. “It’s very successful in helping women determine breast cancer risk, and it can truly save lives.”