October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which promotes the importance of screenings, education and advances in treatment. Awareness of breast cancer is so important because 42,000 women die from it every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s the second-most common cancer in women, behind skin cancer.
Symptoms of breast cancer include any change in the size or shape of the breast, pain in the breast, bloody nipple discharge and a new lump in the breast or underarm. Breast cancer is most commonly found in women age 50 and older.
Breast Cancer Early Detection
If breast cancer is detected early, more treatment options are available and there’s a better chance for survival. Mammograms, which are X-rays of the breast, can be a vital tool to help detect breast cancer Women should start annual mammograms at the age of 40, if not needed sooner, and continue them to age 70 or 80, depending on the patient.
A family history of cancer, especially breast cancer, increases risk. Genetic testing is an advanced tool to determine that level of risk. If you are at high risk, additional screenings such as an ultrasound or breast MRI can help improve early detection. If you have dense breast tissue, as 50% of women do, a breast ultrasound is recommended in addition to a mammogram. Ask your doctor what’s best for you.
Treatments for breast cancer have advanced. They include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Therapies are more precisely targeted, meaning less harm to normal cells. There also are many new drug treatments and doctors can better tailor treatments to your individual needs and health history.
And yes, men also can get breast cancer. Those cases are far less common but still require comprehensive care.
If you’ve put off a mammogram due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schedule one today, and seek care immediately if you have symptoms or concerns about any aspect of your health. Be sure to keep doctors’ appointments. Get care quickly in emergencies. Make an appointment for a mammogram by calling (845) 333-7040.
Also, have confidence you can seek treatment during the pandemic. Garnet Health takes extensive precautions to safeguard patients during visits to offices and hospitals. Precautions include taking your temperature using no-contact thermometers when you enter. All registration and waiting areas use social distancing. Facilities have installed plastic shielding in key areas, and patient appointments are staggered to minimize foot traffic. These steps are complemented by aggressive cleaning and sanitizing.
In addition, convenient Telehealth appointments are available from Garnet Health Doctors for new and established patients. With Telehealth, you can speak to a primary, specialty and urgent care provider by phone or live video from anywhere. This keeps you safe, avoids travel, and provides the care you need via secure, encrypted communications. In addition, most insurance plans cover Telehealth. Make an in-person or Telehealth appointment by calling (845) 333-7575. Learn more by visiting garnethealth.org/doctors.