October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the perfect time to schedule a mammogram, the best tool available for the early detection of breast cancer.
“When the cancer is small and in the early stages it is easier to treat,” said Dr. Dan Phillips, a radiologist with Rome Radiology Group who has lived in Rome for 13 years.
He was one of the founding physician leaders of The Breast Center at Floyd and is the lead interpreting physician for breast imaging.
“Organizations including the Society of Breast Imaging and National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommend that women of average risk get screening mammograms every year starting at age 40,” Phillips said. “Now imagine all the women who missed their mammogram this year due to the pandemic. The lack of a mammogram may allow a small stage 1 cancer the chance to become stage 2. This is even more important for our higher risk women.”
Floyd offers mammography services at The Breast Center at Floyd, Polk Medical Center, Cherokee Medical Center, and via Floyd’s Mobile Mammography Coach. With our Know in 24 promise, patients can rest assured they will have quick screening results and prompt access to additional care when needed.
Understanding the different types of mammograms and why they are given is important.
♦ A screening mammogram is a used to find breast changes in women who have no signs or symptoms or breast cancer.
During a screening mammogram, most women get two to three X-rays of each breast — with each X-ray taking approximately 20-30 seconds. An abnormal mammogram will often be followed by additional breast imaging and possibly a breast biopsy. A breast biopsy removes a small amount of breast tissue so that a pathologist can evaluate the tissue and look for breast cancer cells.
♦ A diagnostic mammogram is used to evaluate a breast irregularity.
New breast lumps, skin changes, or a focused area of breast should be promptly evaluated by a health care provider.
Diagnostic mammograms are often done in conjunction with a breast ultrasound to fully evaluate a breast problem.
♦ Around 8% to 10% of all mammograms show some type of breast abnormality that needs further evaluation. Only around 20% of these abnormalities will result in a diagnosis of breast cancer.
“If you missed or postponed your mammogram this year due to COVID-19, now is the time to take care of yourself,” Phillips said. “Be proactive. Call your preferred facility and schedule your mammogram today. It’s not too late.”