Breast health even more important in uncertain times

Karen Craig, a nurse practitioner whose specialty is breast health, said getting a mammogram this year can give women a sense of control and power at a time when so much seems outside their control.

In a world where uncertainty has become commonplace on a national, local and individual level, gaining certainty in even just one area of life, particularly in matters of health, can be important.

While some women are putting off their health care appointments until the pandemic subsides, Karen Craig, a nurse practitioner whose specialty is breast health, said getting a mammogram this year can give women a sense of control and power at a time when so much seems outside their control.

Breast cancer doesn’t care if there’s a pandemic, Craig said, and with the main risk factors for the disease being female and getting older, the importance of getting an annual breast screening has not changed.

“Breast cancer is unpredictable at best, and about 80% of all women who develop breast cancer have no additional risk factors present,” said Craig, who has more than 40 years of nursing experience. “Many of the patients who come to The Breast Center at Floyd arrive with some level of underlying uncertainty and fear. An annual mammogram and clinical breast exam can replace that uncertainty with knowledge, information and next steps.”

“Even in this pandemic, we have continued to offer women our comprehensive services in one easily accessible, convenient and safe location,” Craig said. “We provide clinical breast exams, breast cancer risk analysis, genetic counseling and testing and appropriate breast imaging with timely results. If a biopsy is needed, we do that too.

“And, notably, we deliver results quickly and compassionately. Whenever possible, we drastically reduce the time women spend waiting for results and provide them answers to their questions. All this helps to decrease the time that a woman must deal with the fear of the unknown.”

Since its opening in 2008, The Breast Center at Floyd has worked to dispel fear in a rapid and compassionate way. Combining a team of experts who are dedicated to breast health with state of art equipment and processes, the mission is to replace fear with facts, empowering women with knowledge and support.

Most patients cope better with any situation when they are allowed to verbalize their fears and, in return, have factual and up-to-date information presented to them, Craig said. Keeping that annual breast exam appointment gives women — and men — an opportunity talk about their concerns and to receive information.

“When I had the opportunity to help found this program in October of 2008, it was my hope that we could build a program to inspire knowledge and courage for the women in our service area,” Craig said. “That hasn’t changed. This October, in the face of this pandemic, my hope is that we can reassure our patients that we are providing COVID-safe care and inspire courage for the women and men in our service area to pursue the important and necessary preventive breast health screenings they need.”

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