Healthy Tahoe: Breast cancer screening just may save your life
The reminder to schedule a breast cancer screening test comes on strong during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. This month, let each splash of pink you see be an encouragement to get screened with a self-exam, physician exam, or a mammogram.
Breast cancer screening is the most reliable way to detect the disease, when it’s at an early stage and is most treatable. Overall, patients are experiencing better outcomes as a result of advances in medical technology, treatment options and less extensive surgery.
After skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer among U.S. women, according to the American Cancer Society. The average risk of breast cancer for an American woman is about 12 percent, or a 1 in 8 chance. The chance that a woman will die from breast cancer is 1 in 38 (about 2.6 percent).
Breast cancer occurs in men and women. The Lake Tahoe community has access to the latest in mammogram technology with Barton’s 3D tomosynthesis machine, which significantly improves the cancer detection rate through increased scanning detail. 3D mammograms provide higher quality images without the need for additional views, saving the patient time as well all decreasing radiation exposure by almost 50 percent.
Signs of breast cancer include:
a lump in the breast or armpit
swelling or thickening of all or part of the breast
dimpling or skin irritation of breast skin
localized, persistent breast pain
redness, scaliness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
any change in the size or shape of the breast
Some patients experience one or more symptoms, while others experience none. Talk to your care provider if you have concerns, or schedule a screening.
Dr. Megan Jewell is a Board-certified OB/GYN physician at Barton Women’s Health. To make an appointment, call 530.543.5711.