This year an estimated 287,850 individuals will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. As one of the most common women’s cancers, the disease affects one in eight women.
However, it is very treatable, especially detected early. In fact, the five-year survival is about 90%. That is, out of 100 women diagnosed with breast cancer, 90 will live at least five years.
So, why are the survival statistics for breast cancer so good? There are two reasons. First, doctors are excellent at treating breast cancer through advances in surgical techniques, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Second, thanks to mammograms, doctors can detect cancers years before a woman would present with a symptom such as a breast lump. Early detection plays a critical role in breast cancer care.
It has been shown that annual screening beginning at age 40 saves the most lives and years of life for women. A mammogram is an excellent screening test, and it’s only getting better. The advent of digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as “3D” mammography, has enabled doctors to detect cancers even earlier than conventional mammograms. There is a small dose of radiation from a mammogram, though the total dose is much less than a CT scan.
Throughout the month of October, the Geisinger mobile mammography bus will give patients in
underserved areas the opportunity to schedule their mammograms. The mobile bus allows our patients to schedule their appointments by calling (570) 271-6000 or scheduling through the MyGeisinger app.
Throughout the month of October, the pink bus can be found at the following locations:
Oct. 3 – 7: Kistler Clinic, 175 S. Wilkes-Barre Blvd., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Oct. 10 – 14: 1 E. Norwegian St., Pottsville, PA 17901
Oct. 17 – 21: 480 Pierce St., Kingston, PA 18704
Oct. 24 – 28: 1 E. Norwegian St., Pottsville, PA 17901
A screening mammogram takes only a few minutes to perform and, in the hands of a skilled technician, should not be uncomfortable for the patient. Some patients will need additional images taken during a separate appointment if their mammogram results are inclusive. This is not uncommon and will provide both you and your doctor with the ultimate reassurance that there are no signs of breast cancer.
It’s never too early to discuss breast cancer screening with your doctor. The discussion should include your family history of breast cancer, especially immediate family members as this information can impact the age at which screening begins and how often it should be performed. If you have recently turned 40 or still have not gotten your first mammogram, this October is the perfect time to make that appointment. The team of doctors and nurses at Geisinger are here to not only make better health easier, but to make your first mammogram a success.
For more information on breast cancer, please visit our website at Geisinger.org/cancercare.