Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among American women. Despite this fact and the national attention given to breast cancer during the month of October, many women still avoid breast exams and mammograms.
“Some women avoid mammograms because they think it will be painful,” said Connie Hilson of Adams. “I personally have had no pain since I started having digital mammograms at Moundview. The imaging staff are amazing. They are discreet, keep you informed during the exam and do everything they can to make you as comfortable as possible. I’m no longer nervous or tense about having a mammogram. I would encourage anyone who needs a mammogram to go to Moundview.”
A mammogram is the most effective tool in the early detection of breast cancer. The test can detect cancer early, before women show any signs or symptoms of the disease. By the time a lump or another symptom is discovered, the cancer is usually larger and more likely to have spread to another area in the body. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the more likely can be treated successfully.
“Some women avoid mammograms because they fear the unknown,” said Linda Grignano, a breast cancer survivor who lives in Friendship. “Just the mere possibility that they could have cancer scares them. Others don’t take the time to schedule their exam because they are too busy with work and family activities. As a survivor, I remind everyone how important it is to get an annual mammogram. It could save their life just as it did mine.”
The American Cancer Society recommends that women 45 and older have a screening mammogram. Women should talk to their doctor about whether to start at an earlier age if they have a family history of the disease.
“Moundview Memorial Hospital & Clinics offers state-of-the-art digital mammography,” said Kim Cramblit, Medical Imaging Manager at Moundview. “Some studies have shown that digital mammography is more accurate in diagnosing cancer in women under age 50 and in those with dense breast tissue. Digital mammography also uses less radiation and produces higher quality images that can be magnified and enhanced for a close up view of specific areas in the breast. This increases the accuracy of the diagnosis and reduces the need for return visits for further imaging.”
The risk factors for breast cancer include but are not limited to: age - your risk increases as you get older with over half of all women diagnosed over age 50, a first degree relative (mother, sister, child) with breast cancer, personal history of breast cancer, having no children or giving birth after age 30, not breast feeding, late menopause (greater than 55 years of age), being overweight, eating a high fat diet and alcohol use.
Women can receive their mammograms at Moundview no matter where their family doctor is located. Test results are sent directly to their provider. To schedule a digital mammogram at Moundview, call (608) 339-8494. Self referrals are accepted for screening mammograms or women can talk to their provider about scheduling an appointment. In recognition of breast cancer awareness month, all women who have a mammogram at Moundview in October will receive a gift and will be entered into a prize drawing.
For more information on breast cancer screenings including questions to ask your doctor, visit Moundview’s website at www.moundview.org and click on the “”Cancer Screening and Prevention” link on the home page or visit the American Cancer Society’s website at www.cancer.org.