October, traditionally celebrated each year as Breast Cancer Month, has passed, but this does not mean that awareness of breast cancer, and ways to avoid it has also passed.
Here are statistics of which every woman who has postponed a mammogram should be aware: Women who had mammograms had a 25% lower rate of advanced breast cancer and a 41 percent lower rate of breast cancers that were fatal within 10 years, according to a recent study published in the journal Cancer.
What this study underscores is that even with all the encouraging advances in breast cancer treatment, nothing is more important than finding breast cancer early, before it has spread to the lymph nodes or elsewhere.
“Early detection saves lives,” said Dionisio Osorio, regional manager of radiology and rehab at Broward Health. “At Broward Health, our Women’s Services Program provides personalized care for women and offers innovative diagnostics that enable our physicians and clinicians to better detect early-stage breast cancer and plan a course of individualized treatment.”
For women who belong to certain ethnic or racial groups, the concern is even greater. Breast cancer is diagnosed in Black women and White women at about the same rate. However, Black women die from it at a higher rate. In keeping with this disturbing health disparity, breast cancer was more likely to be found at an earlier stage among White women than among Black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When to Obtain a Screening
The American Cancer Society recommends women between 40 and 44 years of age have an annual mammogram, should they wish to do so, and women 45 to 54 years of age have yearly mammograms. Women 55 and older may switch to mammograms every two years or can continue yearly screening. Given the considerable proof that screening reduces the rates of advanced and fatal breast cancers, all women should talk to their doctors about when they should begin mammography screening based on their family history and other risks.
Breast Cancer Services
Breast cancer screenings are among the wide range of women’s healthcare services offered at Broward Health. Breast cancer screening technology includes digital mammography, sensory suites, contrast-enhanced mammography and Tomosynthesis.
Technicians at Broward Health Medical Center, Broward Health Coral Springs and Broward Health North also use SmartCurve™ paddles with 2D and 3D technology. The enhanced technology often provides radiologists with a clearer image and the patient may have a more comfortable experience since the paddle more mimics the shape of a breast.
Where to Start
If you are among the 32 percent of women who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, delayed routine care because of COVID-19 concerns, Osorio says not to worry. “As healthcare providers we’ve always taken sanitation seriously,” he said. “Our waiting rooms are designed to maintain social distance, and all equipment is sanitized between uses.”
Study after study demonstrates that incident and mortality rates often increase with delayed screenings. The best way to care for yourself and those you love is to obtain a breast screening, today. Use this October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a catalyst to get up to date with your mammogram and any other health screenings your doctor recommends.
To schedule a mammogram, visit BrowardHealth.org/Mammo or call 954-759-7500. Same-day appointments are often available.