For many women, breast health is always at the forefront of their mind. It’s not uncommon to know several women and families who have been touched by the realities — and sometimes the tragedies — of breast cancer. As we celebrate breast health awareness month throughout October, remember that there’s an abundance of information and resources available for your health.
According to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, today, 37 women in our state will be diagnosed with breast cancer. As the leading cause of cancer death in Pennsylvania for women age 25 to 54, 75 percent of breast cancer cases arise in women with no known risk factors.
While more than 13,000 women in Pennsylvania are newly diagnosed each year, there is hope. If detected early, almost all breast cancers can be treated successfully. When found at its earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is 98.6 percent. That’s why a screening mammogram is such an important line of defense in women who are 40 and older.
But there’s so much more to understand beyond the mammogram. For example, if your mammogram is inconclusive, you likely will be called back for additional views (which does not automatically mean you have cancer). Or, perhaps your physician will ask you to have a breast ultrasound, breast MRI or maybe a lumpectomy. If you do have cancer, you’ll need to understand what types of breast surgery and, potentially, what types of breast reconstruction are available.
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All of this information can be hard to understand and navigate on your own, and as health care providers, we understand that. That’s one of the main reasons Mount Nittany Medical Center will offer a free breast cancer awareness event event on Oct. 20.
The event will begin with a health expo at 5:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., Drs. Allison Yingling and Anna Hood, both fellowship-trained radiologists from the Mount Nittany Health Breast Care Center, will give a presentation regarding screening and diagnostic workups, MRI-guided breast biopsies and the new law that mandates a woman’s breast density level be reported on her mammography report.
Dr. Stephen Miller will hold a presentation about breast cancer surgeries, and I will give a short presentation about breast reconstruction, including the types of reconstruction available as well as what you should keep in mind if you choose to have reconstructive surgery. The health expo will continue after the presentations conclude.
This is a great opportunity for mothers and daughters, sisters, friends, and anyone else interested in learning more about breast health and the resources available throughout the region. The event is free, but we ask that you register beforehand by calling 234-6727.
In addition to this event, Mount Nittany Health will sponsor a photo exhibit called “67 women, 67 counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania” through the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.