Know your body and get your mammogram
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – You’ve done breast self-exams. Your doctor has given you a clinical exam. Isn’t that enough?
“That’s a good start,” said Laura Gordon, Breast Health Patient Navigator at Rhonda Brake Shreiner Women’s Center. “But, if you are age 40 and over you need to get yearly mammograms also.”
According to Gordon, mammograms, an x-ray image of the inside of the breast, can pick up small tumors that can not be found on self- or clinical-exams.
"We all need to know our bodies so we can recognize any differences that may occur,” Gordon said. “Breast cancer is not just a lump and can present itself many ways. There can be a thickening or a dimpling of the skin, drainage from a nipple, a hard ridge of tissue and even swelling and redness much like an infection. This is why it's important that we do self exams every month, but women over the age of 40 should still get their yearly mammogram.”
Gordon listed the American Cancer Society guidelines regarding breast health screenings.
Age 20 and older – self breast exam
Age 20 to 40 – clinical breast exam every 3 years, self breast exams
Age 40 and older – mammogram every year, self breast exams and clinical exams
If high risk – mammogram every year and MRI if necessary, self breast exams and clinical exams
“Breast cancer is difficult to think about, so women will sometimes avoid getting their mammograms,” Gordon explained. “But, technology, like the digital mammograms offered at Summit Health facilities, has come so far that we can detect tumors at some of their earliest stages. Early detection can save lives.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Gordon urges both men and women to talk to their doctor’s about their risk for breast cancer and their next steps.
“Yes, both men and women should talk to their doctors,” Gordon said. “Although only less than one percent of breast cancers occur in men, they do occur, so it’s important for us all to be vigilant.”
Gordon said Summit Health offers four convenient locations for mammograms in Franklin County and Shippensburg.
“Visit www.SummitHealth.org/mammo for locations and telephone numbers,” Gordon said. “Mammograms are important, so please take the time to learn more information and schedule yours today.”
Rhonda Brake Shreiner Women’s Center is an affiliate of Summit Health
Summit Health, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to building a healthier community through leading-edge medical technology, skilled physicians, caring staff, and convenient locations. Summit Health’s comprehensive selection of services and providers includes family physicians, surgeons, specialists, diagnostic services, a women’s health center, a fitness center, and two award-winning hospitals. For more information about Summit Health, call (717) 267-3000 or visit www.SummitHealth.org.