This post is sponsored by Pink Breast Centers. This is Part 2 of a four-part series encouraging women to get screened for breast cancer in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Read Part 1 or Part 3 or Part 4.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s no coincidence that Katie Couric just revealed her battle with breast cancer.
“What’s ironic is that the topic is evergreen. Always front and center in my mind as a breast radiologist is: GET A MAMMOGRAM ANNUALLY!,” Lisa Sheppard, MD, a breast radiologist with ImageCareRadiology, shares. ImageCare has diagnostic imaging centers throughout New Jersey.
“These words may seem simple, but don’t underestimate the number of women who put off their mammograms,” Dr. Sheppard continues. “They procrastinate because they think it’s a hassle. It hurts. They don’t have time. They use every excuse in the book to not do one of the most important things in their lives – take care of their health by screening for cancer.”
Are you one of these women? Don’t be.
“Take it from Katie Couric,” Dr. Sheppard continues. “On June 21, 2022 – the first day of summer and her 8th wedding anniversary – she found out she had breast cancer. Katie describes herself as normally vigilant, bordering on neurotic, about taking care of her health especially because her husband died of colon cancer in 1998. But, she hadn’t had a mammogram since December 2020 thanks to the pandemic … and here it was a year and a half later.”
The lapse in getting a mammogram was particularly concerning because Katie has dense breasts.
“Because my breasts are dense, I routinely get an additional screening using a breast ultrasound,” Katie wrote on Katie Couric Media. Her doctor noted something she wanted to check out … possibly scar tissue from a prior breast reduction … and wanted to do a biopsy.
“Your biopsy came back. It’s cancer,” Katie’s doctor shared. “You’re going to be fine but we need to make a plan.”
Katie continued to write:
“I felt sick and the room started to spin. I was in the middle of an open office, so I walked to a corner and spoke quietly, my mouth unable to keep up with the questions swirling in my head.
What does this mean? Will I need a mastectomy? Will I need chemo? What will the next weeks, months, even years look like?”
Katie underwent a lumpectomy to remove the cancer followed by radiation and medication – an aromatase inhibitor she needs to take for five years. Take it from her: “Please get your annual mammogram. I was six months late this time. I shudder to think what might have happened if I had put it off longer. But just as importantly, please find out if you need additional screening.”
“I hope Katie’s story inspires every woman to take care of themselves. GET A MAMMOGRAM EVERY YEAR,” Dr. Sheppard urges. “Just six months can make a difference between an early-stage diagnosis – which is a blip on someone’s calendar – and a more advanced diagnosis that changes a life.”
For more information, visit PinkBreastCenters.com
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