Doctors say screenings are helping them find and treat cancers earlier and faster. Dr. David Rock, a breast surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Health, says in many cases, screenings are saving lives. “Screening allows us to pick up breast cancers well before they are detectable by our patient, by feeling it in your breast, and the earlier stage we can pick it up the better your chances of curing it.”
He says mammograms are one appointment women shouldn’t miss. “Obviously, if the tumor is neglected and gets larger it requires a lot more surgery and maybe even a lot more treatment so it’s important to catch those cancers early.”
Starting at age 40, doctors encourage women to schedule yearly mammograms to screen for breast cancer. If a patient has a family history of breast cancer, doctors may decide to start screening ten years earlier than the age your family member was diagnosed. This allows physicians to catch the cancer before it develops. “For small non palpable cancers, our cure rate now in 2016-2017 is 98.9 percent; for the next size up it’s well in the 80s. The earlier we can catch those tumors the better your chances of being cured of that disease and the less invasive surgery we can do,” said Dr. Rock.
The goal of a mammogram is to find cancer before it develops and spreads. “Some of these cancers we’re even catching before they’re at the invasive stage, kind of a precancerous stage,” said Dr. Rock.
It’s important to have yearly mammograms after the age of 40 and to talk to your doctor if you have a family history of breast cancer.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.