Early Detection Saves Lives

by Caroline Benitez

According to the American Cancer Society, 276,480 women will be diagnosed with a new case of breast cancer in the United States each year, making it the most common kind of cancer among women. At LVIM, we realize that early detection through mammography screening is essential in catching cancer in its early stages. Thanks to partnerships with WeCare and Radiology Imaging Specialists (RIS), our patients get free access to this vital screening service. In 2019, 54% of qualified patients received their mammograms through LVIM. Since LVIM first opened its doors in 2001, over 6,360 mammograms have been performed.

Whether you’ve had a breast cancer screening in the past, or aren’t sure when it’s time to start, just remember your A-B-Cs:

A- Annual mammogram

Once you reach the age of fifty, it’s recommended that you start getting an annual mammogram. Mammograms are low-dose x-rays of the breast tissue that can be used to detect early signs of breast cancer. If you are of low or average risk, your doctor might recommend that you only need to complete a mammogram every two years.

B- Breast awareness

Get in the habit of performing a breast self-exam once a month.  Because it’s normal for healthy breast tissue to feel lumpy, a monthly self-examination can help you keep track of any new changes. While the majority of lumps felt during a self-exam are unlikely to be cancer, you can report any concerns to your healthcare provider for further advice.

C- Clinical breast exam

Starting in your 20’s, women should receive a breast exam from their doctor or nurse as part of their regular health checkups. This is also a good time to assess your personal risk factors for breast cancer, such as a family history of cancer or other genetic components.  Using this information, you and your healthcare team can work together to create a personal timeline of any and all screening procedures you should be receiving.

About LVIM

LVIM provides free, high-quality, out-patient medical, dental, and mental health care to the working uninsured of Polk County in a compassionate manner. Through 19 years of excellent leadership, LVIM has grown into a thriving and crucial organization for the Polk County community serving the health care needs of over 4,300 eligible patients each year and providing over $9 million in services in 2019 alone. At LVIM the treatment is free, the care is priceless!

“About Breast Cancer.” www.cancer.org, 2020, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/how-common-is-breast-cancer.html.