In my breast surgical practice with MidMichigan Health, I have the privilege of caring for women who are being tested and treated for breast cancer. They are some of the strongest, most spirited women, and it is an honor to be a trusted partner with them during their journey.
Every day, they re-convince me that when breast cancer is detected early, it is most easily and successfully treated. Research upholds this observation time and again. So, during this Breast Cancer Awareness Month take care of yourself by having a mammogram.
As women, we are often so concerned about our children, parents and husband’s health that we either don’t have the time or don’t take the time to care for ourselves. Make it a point to do so this month. Be screened by mammography if you are 40 or older and if you meet any of the other recommendations listed below.
My colleague, Breast Imaging Radiologist Lindsay Zeeb, M.D., reinforces that mammography is key in early detection. “There are many different opinions about when mammography should begin and how often it should occur, but experts all agree that regular screening mammography reduces breast cancer mortality. Deaths from breast cancer have continued to decrease in the United States due to advances in screening and treatment over the last 20 years,” Dr. Zeeb said.
The American Cancer Society recommendations for mammography screening are:
Age is the most important risk factor for breast cancer. Breast cancer is more common in women over age 60 and is relatively uncommon in women under age 40. In addition to age, there are other factors that can increase the risk of breast cancer:
- personal or family history of breast cancer
- certain breast changes found on biopsy
- certain genetic changes
- menstrual periods before age 12 or menopause after age 55
- having a first child after age 30 or never having a child
- long-term use (more than 5 years) of menopausal hormone therapy
- dense breast tissue
- radiation therapy to the chest before age 30
- alcohol use
- having taken the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy
- lack of exercise
The American Cancer Society recommends that women, age 20 or older perform monthly breast self-exams; women ages 20 to 40 receive a clinical breast exam every three years; women age 40 or older receive a clinical breast exam and a mammogram annually.
Please, take care of your children’s mother, your parents’ daughter and your husband’s wife. Take care of yourself and have a mammogram soon.
To schedule your mammogram, ask your health care provider for a referral and call breast health coordinator Kathleen Ludwig, (989) 837-9070. If you have questions about mammography, email your question to Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator Jessica Fodrocy at Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional resources about breast cancer and mammography are available in the following links:
|Kelly Wirsing, M.D.||Kelly Wirsing, M.D., board-certified general surgeon, is the medical director of the Breast Health Program at the Center for Women’s Health at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. She focuses on the rapidly changing field of breast surgery and helping women with breast cancer live longer, healthier lives. She believes that education is essential as women progress from cancer diagnosis through treatment to recovery, and that the more they know, the more likely they are to become survivors.|
|Lindsay Zeeb, M.D.||Lindsay Zeeb, M.D., board-certified diagnostic radiologist, is the medical director of Breast Imaging and the Center for Women’s Health at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. As a breast imaging specialist, Dr. Zeeb reads and interprets the images produced by mammography, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) then makes recommedations for further diagnotic testing and treament. She also conducts image-guided breast biopsies. She believes that patients play a pivotal role in the battle against breast cancer and that keeping up with yearly mammograms can help diagnose cancer early, when it is most curable.|