Earlier this year, health systems across the country suspended nearly all screening mammography due to COVID-19. While those services have now been rescheduled, some women are skipping their annual mammogram due to concerns about COVID-19.
With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Goodall-Witcher Healthcare want women to be aware of the potentially dangerous consequences of skipping their screenings for the year.
Since detecting breast cancer as early as possible is key for a better outcome, Director of Radiology Marlene Kammerdiener, RT(R) along with mammography technologists Miranda Davis and Lisa McDaniel want to remind all women to begin screening mammography by age 40 and continue annually. Continuing to upgrade its ability to care for patients locally, Goodall-Witcher Healthcare began offering state-of-the-art 3D Mammography Oct. 1, just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
In addition, Goodall-Witcher Healthcare continues to take important steps to ensure all patients are safe when visit the hospital or clinics. All patients are required to wear a face mask, and seating in waiting rooms has been reconfigured to ensure there’s proper social distancing. Healthcare professionals also disinfect and clean throughout the day.
In recent decades, the focus on annual screenings has led to hundreds of thousands of lives being saved across the nation. In the United States alone, there’s a one in eight chance a woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women. But a recent study by the American Cancer Society found that deaths from breast cancer in the United States dropped by 40 percent between 1989-2017 -- equating to 375,000 lives saved during this 28-year period.
Research shows the drop in breast cancer deaths for women is directly related to the rise in regular screenings. If caught early enough, some patients will only need surgery to remove their cancer while avoiding the need for chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Two focal point facts health experts are sharing during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October -- 1. Every two minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer; and 2. Early detection of breast cancer saves lives.
The first sign of trouble may be a lump in the breast, but sometimes there are no symptoms, especially in the early stages when the disease is most easily treated. Screening is important. Breast self-exams, clinical breast exams and mammograms are vital to your health.
The American Cancer Society says about one in eight women, or 13 percent, will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, and one in 39, or 3 percent, will die from the disease. About 81 percent of breast cancers are invasive, meaning the abnormal cells have grown out of the glands or ducts and invaded surrounding breast tissue.
National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that in 2020, 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and 48,530 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. An estimated 42,170 women will die of the disease this year. However, when breast cancer is found early, before it has spread outside the breast, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month has made a tremendous difference, but awareness is only the first step. Taking action together will result in the strongest impact for the millions of women who have been diagnosed with or are at high risk of developing breast cancer. For more information, visit the Goodall-Witcher Healthcare website at: www.gwhealthcare.org, or call (254) 675- 8322, ext. 7340 to make an appointment.