The Risk of Delaying Mammograms and Breast Cancer Screening
As some things slowly return to normal with the unprecedented events of 2020 behind us, there remains a lot of ground to make up in areas like women’s health. The disruptions to daily life over the past year caused many women to delay important health practices like mammograms and regular breast cancer screening. As communities across Arkansas readjust, those vital health screenings need to move back to the priority list for many. Otherwise, healthcare professionals worry we could see a disturbing rise in cases of undetected breast cancer over the next five years.
“During the pandemic, we learned that many patients were scared to come in and get their mammograms. This is important preventative health that we need to focus on to make sure that we’re not missing signs of breast cancer and finding any abnormalities as soon as possible,” said CHI St. Vincent Breast Surgeon Dr. Sirinya Prasertvit who recently led a virtual tour of the CHI St. Vincent Breast Center in Little Rock.
While it remains important for women to conduct regular self examinations, mammograms or ultrasound imaging often detect areas of concern that an individual cannot yet see or feel. That’s incredibly important because for breast cancer, the earlier it is detected, the easier it is to treat. New 3D mammography technology available at the CHI St. Vincent Breast Center can detect up to 40% more instances of invasive breast cancer, allowing even earlier diagnosis and treatment with significantly less discomfort for patients.
“I have a lot of patients who have avoided getting mammograms and by the time we do see them, had that been something they did earlier, we could have detected these abnormalities sooner,” said Dr. Prasertvit. “I’d like to encourage women to make sure they are getting their regularly scheduled breast exams, mammograms and screening.”
Those regular screenings are even more important if a patient is at high risk for developing breast cancer. CHI St. Vincent has a specific High Risk Breast Program available for those patients depending on their personal risk factors, family history or possible genetic mutations. The team at the Breast Center designs a specialized care program for each patient.
“We all, as part of the breast program, have been somehow affected by breast cancer or other breast issues,” said Dr. Prasertvit. “This is not just a job for us. This is very personal to us and we want to make sure you receive the same quality of care we would want for our own family members.”
In general, all women over the age of 40 are encouraged to schedule an annual mammogram. To schedule a screening or learn more about the High Risk Breast Program, visit the CHI St. Vincent Breast Center or call: 501.661.9766