October 22, 2012

Many women over 40 still do not recognize importance of yearly screening mammograms

Most women take preventative measures when participating in various activities and taking care of others. They wear a helmet when biking, they make sure their seatbelts are buckled, and they get their flu shots. But do they take the time to get their annual screening mammogram?

Statistics show that, locally, there is an overwhelming number of women who do not get their yearly mammograms after they turn 40.

“Yearly mammograms, along with a yearly clinical breast exam and monthly self-breast exams, are the gold standard in finding early-stage breast cancers,” said Melissa Bohan, RN, BSN, CBPN-IC, nurse manager of the CAMC Breast Center. “Finding the cancer early increases the patient’s treatment options. A yearly mammogram is important because it can demonstrate an abnormality that is not detectable by examination.“

According to many sources, the recommended age to start getting a yearly screening mammogram is 40. A physician’s order is not required for a screening mammogram, and the CAMC Breast Center takes walk-ins from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“The mammogram should be coupled with a clinical breast exam, because each one of these may detect abnormalities not found with the other,” Bohan said. “Women also need to be familiar with how their own breasts feel so they will be able to recognize a change that should be reported to their physician while performing self-breast exams.”

If an abnormality is detected during a breast exam or mammogram, the Breast Center is structured around a team of physicians, nurses and technologists who are specialists in breast diseases. The Breast Center provides a number of programs that range from different types of imaging to quick access for the diagnosis and treatment of any breast problem.

“Patient navigation, breast risk assessments, genetic testing/counseling and rapid referrals to breast surgeons within 24 to 48 hours and other disciplines are just a few of the programs in place to facilitate the care of patients with breast problems,” Bohan said. “The Breast Center is designed to provide a solution to all breast concerns in a matter of days.”

The CAMC Breast Center, located in the medical staff office building at Women and Children’s Hospital, was the first accredited breast center in West Virginia and provides care from prevention to early detection to diagnosis and treatment of breast diseases. For more information, call (304) 388-2861, or visit camc.org/breastcenter.

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