Don’t Delay Your Mammogram

Jay FitzOur Town Health

Mammograms save lives every day. Thanks to mam­mography and improve­ments in breast cancer treat­ment, the American Cancer Society estimates that more than 500,000 lives have been saved since 1989.

By detecting cancer early through regular an­nual screenings, doctors see dramatically improved patient outcomes.

All Women are at Risk

Fellowship-trained breast radiologist Amanda Squires MD is Parkwest Comprehensive Breast Cen­ter’s medical director. She reports, “All women are born with a 12.9 percent [1 in 8] chance of developing breast cancer in their life­time. Breast cancer strikes regardless of lifestyle or family history. Every wom­en is at risk and deserves the opportunity to identify an abnormality at the earli­est possible time.”

Regular screenings and early detection allow a much-improved prognosis in addition to fewer re­quired interventions and less intensive treatment.

What to Expect at a Screening

Most mammogram appointments are quick and easy. The staff puts patients first, and results are typically avail­able within a few days at most. “Our entire staff is welcoming, calming and dedicated to the entirety of each patient’s well-being,” Dr. Squires said.

Expert, Thorough Care

When a possible ab­normality is detected, the Breast Center staff walks each patient through the process of obtaining any needed additional informa­tion, explaining each step of the way. Most of these ul­timately prove to be benign. However, if an abnormality is found to be malignant, it is typi­cally detected many years ahead of when the malig­nancy would have become clinically apparent. That is what makes preventive screenings one of the best early detectors of cancer.

On the Cutting Edge

“Perhaps most impor­tantly, we all strive to stay at the cutting edge of technology and evolving medical knowledge,” Squires said. “We also own the entirety of the process to make our patient’s lives as convenient as possible as they protect their health. We are able to independent­ly manage a patient’s care from beginning to end. While we communicate frequently with our refer­ring physicians, we sim­plify the process for our patients by being able to do what needs to be done without requiring them to go through additional ap­pointments.”

Determining Your Risk

While all women are at risk of breast cancer, some women are at increased risk for various reasons. Recently, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology began recommending a formal risk assessment of all women at age 30 (or sooner, for those in very high-risk families). To ensure each patient has an individualized care plan that is right for them, we have access to genetic counselors and laboratories for genetic testing at the Parkwest Breast Center specifically to help identify patients at increased risk.

All women are recommended to conduct an individual breast exam monthly. Beginning at age 20, women should undergo a clinical breast exam at the time of their annual doctor visit. The American College of Radiology and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend annual screening mammograms for women every year beginning at age 40.

Parkwest Comprehensive Breast Center offers high quality services, an outstanding staff and the latest in screening technology. The staff at the Breast Center works in conjunc­tion with the referring physician, typically an OB/ GYN or primary care doc­tor. However, no physician referral is required to get a screening mammogram.

Since the introduction of regular screening mammograms in America, the mortality rate of breast cancer has decreased by nearly 50 percent.

To schedule a mammo­gram at the Parkwest Com­prehensive Breast Center, call 865-373-7010.

Information provided by the marketing department of Covenant Health.

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