Screening stressed during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
by Marie Nesmith
Oct 13, 2012 | 4131 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the midst of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, medical professionals are stressing the importance of early detection. With the American Cancer Society estimating one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, self-exams and mammograms are key tools in stopping the progression of this disease.

For Dr. Hugo Ribot, managing partner of Cartersville Ob/Gyn Associates and medical director of the Georgia Advanced Surgery Center for Women, conducting self-exams and receiving mammograms are among his top three recommendations for “best breast health.”

According to a column penned by Ribot on this topic, the top three suggestions are:

“1. Schedule annual well-woman exams.

During your yearly exam, your gynecologist or general practitioner will perform a breast exam that will help screen for cancer. If s/he finds any unusual lumps or abnormalities — or if you are due for a mammogram — s/he will refer you for that screening. Early detection is the key to beating breast cancer and saving lives!

2. Perform monthly breast self-exams.

You know your body best, and that includes your breasts. Performing monthly breast self-exams will increase the chance of discovering lumps and abnormalities early. These exams should be done [three to five] days after finishing your period, or on the same day every month after menopause. Ask your doctor for proper instructions for the exam, which should include visual and manual inspection of the skin, breast tissue, nipple and armpit.

3. Get yearly mammograms.

Get a mammogram once a year beginning at age 40, or younger if you have a family history of breast cancer. In addition, if you find an abnormality or discharge, or experience pain during your breast self-exam, see your doctor to determine if you should have a mammogram at that time.”

Echoing the comments of Ribot, Melanie Morris — supervisor of mammography at the Cartersville Medical Center’s Women’s Center — encourages women to be proactive with their health care. Unlike past years, she said women now are more likely to incorporate self-exams and mammograms into their health-care regimen.

“Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women in cancer deaths,” Morris said. “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. So doing breast self-exams and getting their mammograms is important. ... It’s recommended that women do the self-breast exams once a month. Also between the ages of 35 and 40, you should get a baseline mammogram. Between the ages of 40 and 50, they should get one every other year and from 50 on, each year. The information that we have is it will show a problem, calcifications or something so tiny — several years before a person could even feel the area. So getting your routine exams, being aware of any changes in your breasts, all that is important.

“The technology has come so far and for the medical center we’re a gold seal facility. We’re accredited by the ACR [American College of Radiology]. So we do digital and then we have equipment that’s called Second Look and as the radiologists look at the films and dictate the films then we have a computer that goes back in. It’s like a second pair of eyes and it looks over the film and calls detail to any irregularities in the breast. So we’re excited about that.”

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Cartersville Medical Center is presenting Get Your Pink On! at the Clarence Brown Conference Center Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m. Open to the public, the free event will feature pampering activities, photo sessions, entertainment, refreshments, beauty tips, door prizes, breast cancer survivor stories, and information about diagnosis and treatment.

CMC’s Women’s Center also is offering digital mammograms at a reduced rate through the end of the year. Instead of costing $99, the mammograms will be $49, which does not include the radiologist’s reading fee. During the month of October, extended hours — 9 a.m. to noon. Oct. 13 and 27 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 25 — will be available at the center.

To register for Get Your Pink On!, contact MedLine at 800-242-5662. For more information about scheduling a mammogram at the CMC Women’s Center, call 855-828-5136.