Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October is the perfect time to raise awareness about the symptoms and risk factors of breast cancer. It’s also a great time to consider if it’s time for a mammogram, and a reminder to do self-checks for breast cancer on a monthly basis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of breast cancer include a change in the size or shape of the breast, pain in any area of the breast, nipple discharge other than breast milk and a new lump in the breast or underarm. If you have one or more of these symptoms, see your doctor.
Most breast cancer journeys start when a woman finds a lump or her doctor discovers one during an annual exam or screening mammogram. The CDC recommends that women 50 to 74 years of age get a screening mammogram every two years. If you are 40 to 49 years old, consult with your doctor about when to get mammograms.
Prowers Medical Center offers both screening and diagnostic mammograms. The machine is digital, allowing radiologists from Radiology and Imaging Consultants (RIC) in Colorado Springs to read the scans quickly.
“Digital scans are of much better quality than past films, and if the radiologist sees something he or she orders a follow-up diagnostic mammogram,” said Tammi Whisennand, Radiology Technician, (CT) (M) (R) with Prowers Medical Center’s Imaging Department.
With an abnormal diagnostic mammogram, the next step is ultrasound or a breast biopsy—done likely that same day by the radiologist. Hearing that you need a biopsy can be scary, but it may simply be a cyst or polyp rather than cancer.
“We want to make it easy for patients, so when possible the radiologist reads the diagnostic mammogram during the visit. That way, if further investigation is needed we can hopefully do it that same day so patients don’t have to wait for results,” Whisennand said.
When it’s cancer
Hearing you have cancer just may be the scariest words ever uttered. If you’ve been told you have breast cancer, remember there are plenty of sound treatments today.
To save cancer patients the need to travel out of town, the hospital brings cancers specialists to the Prowers Medical Center Specialty Clinic on a regular basis. Dr. Robert Hoyer is an oncologist who comes to Lamar the last Thursday and Friday of each month, along with his oncology PA, Lisa Adams. Dr. Michelle DeWing is a breast surgeon who is available the second Monday of each month.
“While she performs breast surgery at UCHealth’s Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Dr. DeWing provides before and after care here at Prowers Medical Center,” said Dawn Watts, Clinic Practice Manager.
While radiation treatment is not available at Prowers, Infusion Services offers chemotherapy here at home, so women don’t have to travel for treatment. When a mastectomy is needed, Dr. Jessica Swanson, General Surgeon, completes that surgery at Prowers Medical Center.
“The medical center’s operating rooms are state-of-the-art and equivalent to any that I work with in Denver. It’s refreshing to have top notch equipment that allows us to provide high quality care to our patients,” Dr. Swanson said.
Make it a habit to do self-breast exams and to have regular check-ups and mammograms. Finding a lump early often means good results.
Cancer specialists at Prowers Medical Center Specialty Clinic
Dr. Jessica Swanson
719-336-7005 for appointments
Available on a varying, part time basis
Dr. Hoyer/Lisa Adams
719-365-6568 for appointments
4th TH and Fri of each month, coming October 25 and 26
2nd M of each month, coming October 8