October 18 is National Mammography Day, a time for women to remember the importance of early detection in the fight against breast cancer, and if you’re 40 or older, to schedule an annual mammogram.
“Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American women,” said Dr. Rolf Gobien, chief of radiology at Sampson Regional Medical Center. “Fortunately, when diagnosed at a localized stage, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent. Early detection is critical, and an annual mammogram is the best method available for detecting breast cancer in its beginning stages.”
A mammogram is simply an X-ray photograph of the breast. One of the most recent advances in early breast cancer detection is the use of digital mammography, which is available at Sampson Regional’s Outpatient Diagnostics Center. This new technology offers many benefits for women. Digital mammography is twice as fast as conventional film-based mammography. “It also produces images that are much clearer and more detailed, giving physicians more information for a more precise and accurate diagnosis, so there’s much less need for a follow-up exam,” said Dr. Gobien. Digital mammography also uses less radiation than a traditional exam and is generally more comfortable for the patient.
“Digital mammography is especially effective for women under 50,” continued Dr. Gobien. Indeed, the American College of Radiology estimates that digital mammography detects 28 percent more cancers than conventional mammography techniques for women in this age group, as well as women who have breast tissue that is dense or difficult to image.
There are many reasons women give for not having a mammogram — everything from ‘I don’t have enough time’ to ‘I don’t have a family history of breast cancer.’ In the end, these are not valid reasons; they’re just excuses. Cost should never be an issue. Most private health insurance plans, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, cover mammograms. Both conventional mammography and digital mammography are conducted according to high quality standards. In fact, every mammogram in the United States must be certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Please remember that a breast self-exam should never be a substitute for a mammogram,” asserted Dr. Gobien. It’s a proven fact that an annual mammogram reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer by 30 to 40 percent. “That’s the best reason we can think of for you to schedule one today,” he added.
Call 910-592-2689 for more information about how to schedule an annual screening mammogram without a physician referral.
Sampson Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is a 146-bed hospital accredited by The Joint Commission. It provides Sampson County and neighboring areas an extensive list of health services including: inpatient care for adults and pediatrics, outpatient surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, cardiac and pulmonary rehab, sleep studies, emergency medicine and urgent care, pain management, wound care, laboratory services, home health, diagnostic imaging, physical and occupational therapy, primary care, health and wellness, and ongoing community education.