The Centers for Disease Control reports that breast cancer screenings have declined dramatically during the Pandemic. It’s the perfect time to remind you October isn’t the only time to think about breast cancer screening. Mammograms can detect a lump up to three years before you or your doctor can feel it. So why put it off? Millennium Physician Group Breast Surgeon Dr. Natalia Spinelli explains how it all starts with self-awareness.
“The thing we recommend is for women to undergo breast self-awareness exams, which basically means to get familiar with your breasts,” she says. “So if there’s anything that feels unusual, you can detect it first and then make sure that you seek immediate help.”
Dr. Spinelli adds that if you do find something different, don’t freak out. “If you do feel anything on your breast such as a lump you should seek help from a healthcare provider so you can get evaluated and have a good diagnostic workup that includes a mammogram and an ultrasound.” And she adds a reassurance, “When you have a breast lump, this does not necessarily mean that this is breast cancer.”
In fact, most breast lumps women feel are not cancer. Only two out of 10 are. Still, in addition to breast self awareness, regular screening mammograms remain the most powerful tool in fighting breast cancer.
“Mammograms have been shown to save lives by decreasing mortality from breast cancer,” explains Dr. Spinelli. “Mammograms can detect cancers when they’re in the microscopic level and very, very early stage, and that has been shown to improve overall survival.”
So don’t put it off or wait until October to schedule your mammogram, they really do save lives.