By Joseph S. Walker, MD
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it is time to remember loved ones who have battled this dreaded disease, many of whom have lost her lives because of it. It is pertinent to honor them, to save lives by detecting this disease early, and to prevent it whenever possible.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends average risk women who show no symptoms between ages 25 and 40 years of age to have a visit with a physician or practitioner regarding risk management and risk reduction counseling every 1-3 years as well as a clinical breast exam.
Women over 40 years old are recommended to have an annual clinical visit and annual mammogram. Women who are at increased risk such as those with a strong family history of breast cancer or those with a previous abnormal biopsy need increased risk screening. During these visits women can be instructed on how to perform self-breast exams as well.
Any woman who has breast symptoms such as a palpable mass or new abnormal breast changes needs immediate diagnostic evaluation. By diligently adhering to the current guidelines and responding to women’s breast related concerns and needs in a timely fashion, we can hope to significantly reduce the morbidity and mortality of this disease.
Please contact your primary care provider to be evaluated. Any abnormal or concerning findings on exam or imaging should prompt referral to an experienced breast surgeon. We are prepared to take care of your breast surgery and oncology needs here at Northwest Surgery Center. Remember that the patient is the most important member of the healthcare team and needs to be actively involved in the breast cancer screening and decision-making process.
Carletta, age 44, talks about how knowing her family history of breast cancer made it easier for her to be proactive about talking to her doctor when she noticed changes in her body. Carletta was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 41, and she finished her first triathlon one year after her first chemotherapy treatment.
The Winfield Hospital had its official opening in 1949 and since that time has been serving the primary health care needs of Marion, Fayette, Lamar, Walker and Winston Counties.
In this modern era, Northwest Medical Center has added many specialized services reaching beyond our primary service area into a regional service facility. A modern, well-equipped replacement hospital was built in 1998 and compliments the quality of our Medical Staff and patient care.
Digital mammography can detect early-stage breast cancer.
If you're a woman 40 years of age or older, you should have a mammogram every year.
Schedule your mammogram today by calling us at (205) 487-7748. (A physician's order is required).
In the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea," the heroine cannot sleep because she can feel a very small lump, even though it's covered by dozens of mattresses.
In real life, we are not that lucky. By the time we can feel a lump in our own breasts, a cancerous tumor could possibly have grown larger and spread beyond the breast into other areas of our bodies.
The process for requesting a patient's medical records includes obtaining a medical release of information authorization that is signed and dated by the patient.