October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I just got my reminder notice from West Valley Imaging to schedule my annual mammogram and I thought it would be really good timing (October!) to write about how important mammograms are to breast cancer early detection.
While our practice does not provide primary care or treat breast cancer, we feel it is very important for all of our patients to do all that they can to prevent breast cancer and detect it as early as possible. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime (with a higher likelihood in those women with a positive family history or genetic pre-disposition) and with those odds we want it to be the earliest and most treatable form possible!
Our patients with whom we discuss breast issues are primarily cosmetic surgery patients who have either had a breast lift or reduction or have breast implants. Patients with breast implants, especially, tend to think of their breasts as “all implant” and forget that the implant is covered over with the “real thing”. And it is really, really important to examine that “real breast tissue” regularly to make sure that there is no sign of breast cancer.
When we plan cosmetic breast surgery, we advise all of our patients 35 and over to have a pre-operative mammogram to rule out any surprises and to serve as a baseline. Then we recommend an annual mammogram at 40 and every year thereafter. It is surprising how many women do not have this simple, routine, but so very important, test. Early detection is the most important factor in surviving breast cancer. While self breast exam and finding a lump as early as possible is also important, most lumps found by the patient that turn out to be cancer are already quite large. Your best defense is to find it before you can even feel it! (Just so you know: over 80% of all breast biopsies performed show no evidence of cancer!)
For all of our readers who see this blog, I urge you to schedule your annual mammogram if you are not already “on schedule”. Even if you do not currently have health insurance, mammograms are affordable and available. And if any of my current patients are in need of a prescription and referral for your regular mammogram, please call the office and we will help you get back on schedule! (702-732-9600)
As the P&G ad campaign says: “Do it for ‘the girls’!”
Wishing you the best of health!
For more information on this blog topic or for scheduling, contact me at the Herte Center for Cosmetic Surgery or call 702. 732. 9600.
Dr. Mary C. Herte is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is Medical Director of the Herte Center for Cosmetic Surgery.