This post is sponsored by Pink Breast Centers. This is Part 1 of a four-part series encouraging women to get screened for breast cancer in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Read Part 2 or Part 3 or Part 4.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Protect Yourself. Schedule Your Mammogram Now.
“I hate getting a mammogram.”
Lisa Sheppard, MD, a breast radiologist with ImageCareRadiology, which has diagnostic imaging centers throughout New Jersey, hears this all the time.
“So many women put off getting a mammogram,” Dr. Sheppard shares. “They use every excuse. ‘It’s so uncomfortable.’ ‘I don’t have the time.’ ‘I’m afraid of the outcome.’
“But, what doesn’t come to the forefront of their thinking is even worse: late-stage, undiagnosed breast cancer,” Dr. Sheppard cautions. “It’s harder and more expensive to treat. The treatment is tougher to tolerate. And, the later the stage of the breast cancer, the higher the possibility of breast deformity and the cancer metastasizing to other parts of the body.”
Here are the hard and fast facts about breast cancer. In 2022:
- Almost 288,000 women and more than 2,700 men in America will be diagnosed with new cases of invasive breast cancer.
- More than 51,000 new cases of ductal carcinoma in situ, a non-invasive breast cancer, will be identified
- Some 43,000 women and 500 men will die from breast cancer.
In addition, across the United States:
- About one in eight women (13%) will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetimes.
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer with an estimated 30% of newly diagnosed cancer in women will be breast cancers in 2022.
- Breast cancer death rates are higher than any other cancer except lung cancer.
- As of January 2022, more than 3.8 million women have a history of breast cancer.
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
None of this is good. None of this is worth putting off your annual mammogram just because you’re scared, or because it may be uncomfortable for a few minutes.
These facts should convince every woman to put their fears of getting an annual mammogram at ease knowing that:
- Mammograms can save your life. Finding breast cancer early reduces your risk of dying from the disease by 25-30% or more. Start getting a yearly mammogram at age 40 or earlier if you’re at high risk.
- A mammography is a fast procedure. It only takes about 20 minutes – and the discomfort – often minimal – just lasts a short time.
- Mammograms are safe. You’re only exposed to a very tiny amount of radiation exposure.
- Extra screening is available for those with dense breasts: If you have dense breasts, you should get an additional annual screening evaluation such as a breast ultrasound or MRI. Talk to your doctor about the benefits of having this extra diagnostic test in your screening plan.
- The Affordable Care Act makes breast cancer screening free. All health plans must cover 100% of the cost. You don’t have a deductible or copay. If you don’t have insurance, you may be eligible for a free or discounted screening.
“Here in the State of New Jersey, every woman who has a high risk of breast cancer or has heterogeneous or extremely dense breasts is also entitled to an ultrasound,” Dr. Sheppard advises. “Mammograms can save your life. So in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, schedule yours now.”
For more information, visit PinkBreastCenters.com