Getting diagnosed with breast cancer—any cancer—is scary. It’s hard to avoid thoughts of ‘what if,’ especially when there is a lag between diagnostic appointments and procedures. Yet breast cancer is survivable for many, and getting regular check ups increases those odds tremendously.
Early detection often means early stage—and early stage means treatable. It’s reassuring to know statistics are in your favor. Did you know that 80% of breast cancer diagnoses are detected in the early stages, giving these women a 97% five-year survival rate?
In honor of breast cancer awareness month, schedule a mammogram at Prowers Medical Center. PMC offers both screening and diagnostic mammograms.
“Screening mammography can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Diagnostic mammography is performed when there is a potential abnormality found on the screening mammogram or if a new palpable breast lump or mass is detected,” said Shelley McSparrin, Imaging Manager for PMC.
Don’t skip a mammogram because of fear
It’s easy to put off getting a mammogram but rest assured, the mammography suite at Prowers Medical Center is private and comfortable. The exam takes less than 30 minutes. A registered mammography technologist performs each mammogram.
Sometimes mammograms spark a second look—likely a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound or a biopsy—if a mass of any kind is found. Knowing that second looks usually result in a non-cancer outcome helps. Diagnostic mammography services are provided at PMC on Wednesdays from 9:00am – 2:00 pm.
“According to the American College of Radiology extensive scientific research shows a 40 percent reduction of breast cancer deaths with regular annual screening mammography,” McSparrin said.
PMC offers screening mammograms Monday – Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm. A boardcertified radiologist is on site to read your mammogram. You’ll receive results in 30 days or sooner if there’s a concern. If you come for a diagnostic mammogram the radiologist reads your findings and discusses them with you during your visit—sparing you time to worry. The same is true if you need an ultrasound or breast biopsy.
“We provide same day ultrasound breast biopsy exams to expedite a definitive diagnosis and to reduce the fear and anxiety that a patient may experience,” McSparrin said.
If you have a family history or personal concern, ask your doctor if it’s wise to start getting mammograms before age 50 and more frequently than every other year as is now recommended.
“The most lives saved and the most life years gained occur with yearly mammography starting at age 40. There is no established age for women to stop screening mammography. Women should continue as long as they are healthy and desire to remain so,” McSparrin said.
Prowers Medical Center offers support for women with breast cancer. Dr. Jessica Swanson, PMC General Surgeon, performs mastectomies at PMC and Dr. Michelle DeWing, Breast Surgeon from UCHealth in Colorado Springs, comes to the PMC Specialty Clinic once a month for consults and follow-up care with local patients. PMC also has a visiting oncologist, Dr. Hoyer, who guides chemotherapy treatments at the infusion center.
“In addition, all of our providers perform a clinical breast exam during women’s wellness visits. We encourage women in the community to call and schedule this month in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” says Dawn Watts, PMC Clinic Practice Manager.