October is National Breast Health Awareness month, which means there’s a lot of talk about the importance of getting regular mammograms. And for good reason! Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women and will strike about 1 in 8 U.S. women over their lifetime. The American Cancer Society reports that many women with breast cancer have no symptoms, therefore regular self-examinations, screenings, knowing family history, a healthy diet and exercise are key to prevention. An annual mammogram is widely known as the best way to detect breast cancer early, when women have the most treatment options and better chances of a favorable prognosis.
But not all mammograms are the same. There are two different primary types - screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms. A screening mammogram looks for signs in women who don’t have any obvious problems, and a diagnostic mammogram checks the breast if there have been changes or problems detected. Experts recommend annual screening mammograms for women who are 40 years or older or for younger women with specific risk factors. Patients are referred for a diagnostic mammogram if their screening mammogram revealed a possible abnormality or when if they have been previously treated for breast cancer.
The Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic at the Regional Cancer Center helps newly diagnosed breast cancer patients or patients looking for a second opinion for their treatment options. We know cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming for the patient and their family so here at the Regional Cancer Center each patient is assigned a Breast Health Nurse Navigator to guide them through their cancer journey. Each journey is different and extremely personal. Navigators provide one-on-one encouragement and education. They explain treatments, connect patients with services/support groups and address needs during a trying time. Annual screenings are critical for early detection. If a patient is un-insured or has financial hardships a Breast Health Nurse Navigator will work with them and our Mammogram Fund to get them a reduced cost. As a not for profit health system everyone deserves access to care and money should not be the reason why care is delayed.
Lee Health’s Healthy Life Center is hosting FREE virtual classes this month geared towards Women’s Health – living a healthy and preventative lifestyle. Check out the schedule of classes and call 239-468-0050 to RSVP.
To learn more how Lee Health serves its community and prioritizes access to health care check out our 2019 Community Benefit Report.
Lee Health is going PINK for the month of October to show support and spread awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, will you go PINK too?! Visit www.LeeHealth.org to read survivor stories, see the services we provide and schedule your annual mammogram.
We are caring people, fighting cancer, we are #LeeHealthStrong