(9/26/11) – In October, in observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, McLeod Medical Center Dillon and the City of Dillon have placed pink ribbons on the light poles on Main Street to raise awareness of breast cancer, the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today. Men can get breast cancer, too, though this is rare.
Numerous studies have shown that early detection of breast cancer can save women’s lives and increase their treatment options. The American Cancer Society provides the following breast cancer screening guidelines:
• Mammogram: Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and keep on doing so for as long as they are in good health.
• Clinical breast exam: Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a regular exam by a health expert, at least every three years. After age 40, women should have a clinical breast exam by a health expert every year.
• Breast self-exam (BSE): Beginning in their 20s, women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to a health care provider right away.
Although risks for breast cancer include factors that cannot be changed (such as being female, age, and family history), there are some actions that may reduce a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer. Staying at a healthy weight throughout life, adopting a physically active lifestyle, and limiting alcohol consumption may help reduce breast cancer risk.
Mammography is one of the most important techniques that doctors use to detect breast cancer. A large benefit of a mammogram is its ability to detect problem areas even before they can be felt in a breast self-exam. Finding breast cancer earlier means much lower levels of lymph node involvement, and that more women being treated for cancer are eligible for breast conservation.
McLeod Medical Center Dillon has the latest in breast imaging technology with state-of-the-art digital mammography. While standard film mammography creates an image directly on film, digital mammography takes an electronic image and stores it directly in a computer.
Digital mammography holds many benefits. The images captured by a digital system are extremely clear and detailed with improved contrast. Digital mammography allows a physician to see a spot as small as a grain of sand. While standard film mammography creates an image directly on film, digital mammography takes an electronic image and stores it directly in a computer. Digital imaging also reduces patient waiting time and administers a lower radiation dose. In addition, Radiologists can use computer software to help interpret digital mammograms.
All women ages 40 and over are encouraged to schedule a digital mammogram annually. Please call McLeod Reservations and Scheduling at (843) 777-2095 for appointments.
Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org/breastcancer to learn more about breast cancer risk factors, early detection, and treatment.