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Tyrone Hospital urges women to get screened for breast cancer

The healthcare professionals at Tyrone Hospital wish to remind the public that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The month is dedicated to increasing public awareness of breast cancer and the importance of early detection of the disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, this year an estimated 178,480 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and about 40,460 will die from this disease. It’s still the second leading cause of cancer death for females, after lung cancer. However, a great deal of progress has been made over the last fifty years in diagnosing and treating breast cancer as a result of advancements in research and the treatment options that are now available.
Since Breast Cancer Awareness Month was launched in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined.
Roy Pazmino, M.D., a gynecologist on the medical staff at Tyrone Hospital, said all women are at risk for breast cancer. As women age, their risk of breast cancer increases. “It is very important to find breast cancer at an early treatable stage.” Unfortunately, some women ignore getting a mammogram. “A late stage breast cancer diagnosis is much harder to treat than an early stage diagnosis,” said Dr. Pazmino. The key to treatment for breast cancer and other cancers is to detect it as early as possible.
Although some of the risk factors linked to breast cancer are known, it’s not yet known what all of the causes are. It could be that a woman of average risk for breast cancer may lower her risk somewhat by changing some risk factors. These risk factors include giving birth to several children and breast-feeding them for several months, not smoking, not drinking alcohol, exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods and maintaining the proper body weight.
It is also important for women to follow the American Cancer Society’s screening guidelines for finding breast cancer early as described below.
Mammogram: Mammography (an x-ray picture of the breast) is the single most effective method to detect breast changes that may be cancer, long before physical symptoms can be seen or felt. Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health. While mammograms can miss some cancers, they are still a very good tool to find breast cancer. The key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely – once is not enough.
Clinical breast exam: Women in their 20’s and 30’s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a regular exam by a health expert, preferably every three years. After age 40, women should have a CBE by a health expert every year. It might be a good idea to have the CBE shortly before the mammogram. You can use the exam to learn what your own breasts feel like.
Breast awareness and breast self-exam (BSE): BSE is an option for women starting in their 20’s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should report any changes in how their breasts look or feel to their health professional right away. If a woman decides to do BSE, she should have the doctor or nurse check the method to make sure she is doing it properly. If women do BSE on a regular basis, they get to know how their breasts normally look and feel. Then they can more easily notice changes.
Women at high risk: Women with a higher risk of breast cancer should talk with their doctor about the best approach for them. This might mean starting mammograms when they are younger, having extra tests such as an MRI, or having more frequent exams.
It is also important to see your doctor right away if you notice any of these breast changes: a lump or swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple pain or the nipple turning inward, redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin, or a discharge other than breast milk. Dr. Pazmino said most of the time breast changes are not cancerous, but to be on the safe side, women should be evaluated by a physician.
Women can access physician care as well as screening and diagnostic mammography and breast sonograms at Tyrone Hospital. Tyrone Hospital uses the iCADs Second Look 300 technology in conjunction with the standard reading of mammography films. The Second Look 300 is an advanced computer aided detection system (CAD) used for mammogram films to help with the early detection of breast cancer.
Rebecca McCully, Director of Radiology at Tyrone Hospital, said women can use the services at Tyrone Hospital regardless of where their doctor is located. “If the hospital is listed as a participating provider with a person’s insurance, they can use Tyrone Hospital. Results of mammograms and sonograms can be sent to doctors throughout the area.”
Ms. McCully said women do not have a long wait to get an appointment at Tyrone Hospital. “When they come for their appointment, we are also able to get them in and out.” That’s one of the advantages to using the outpatient services here at Tyrone.”
In celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Tyrone Hospital’s radiology department is providing a small gift to each mammography patient. In addition, each patient has the option of entering their name into a drawing for a gift basket.
Tyrone Hospital is a participating provider in most major insurances including United Healthcare. To schedule a mammogram at Tyrone Hospital or for more information call the hospital’s radiology department at 684-6385.