Dur­ing Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month

North Coun­try Hospi­tal Of­fers Sim­ple Mes­sage: the Ear­lier, the Bet­ter

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion, Nancy Goss, New­port, VT

North Coun­try Hospi­tal wants women in our community to know that the best pro­tec­tion against breast can­cer is early de­tec­tion. Be­sides skin can­cer, breast can­cer is the most com­monly di­ag­nosed can­cer in women. Breast can­cer is the sec­ond lead­ing cause of death in women. Each year in Ver­mont ap­prox­i­mately 494 women will be

di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer and 85 will die of the dis­ease. Breast can­cer in men is rare but it does hap­pen. There are about 2,180 men in the US that will be di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer each year.

When de­tected at its ear­li­est stages, 98 per­cent of women sur­vive breast can­cer. “The sooner it is di­ag­nosed— the eas­ier it is to treat,” said Kel­ley Goulet RTR ( M) Mam­mog­ra­phy Co­or­di­na­tor at North Coun­try Hospi­tal.

Goulet says de­tect­ing breast can­cer early gives women bet­ter treat­ment op­tions. “At the ear­li­est stage of di­ag­no­sis, treat­ment is of­ten less se­vere and less ag­gres­sive,” said Goulet.

Doc­tors rec­om­mend a base­line mam­mo­gram be­tween the ages of 35-40 and yearly screening mam­mo­grams for women start­ing at the age of 40. Women with a fam­ily his­tory of breast can­cer or other risk fac­tors may be screened even younger than 40.

To in­crease aware­ness about the im­por­tance of breast can­cer screening, North Coun­try Hospi­tal is join­ing hands with Dart­mouth-Hitch­cock Nor­ris Cot­ton Can­cer Cen­ter in an aware­ness cam­paign dur­ing Oc­to­ber. It plans to dis­play ma­te­ri­als us­ing le­mons as a teach­ing aid to help women un­der­stand the signs and symp­toms of breast can­cer as well as the anatomy of the breast. “We want women to know what to look out for and un­der­stand the pros and cons of screening,” says Goulet. “These ma­te­ri­als do that.”

Breast can­cer screening re­lies on breast self-ex­ams, clin­i­cal breast ex­ams and mam­mog­ra­phy, which is con­sid­ered safe and ef­fec­tive by lead­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions.

De­cid­ing to have a mam­mo­gram is a per­sonal de­ci­sion most women make af­ter talk­ing with their health care provider. Dart­mouthHitch­cock Nor­ris Cot­ton Can­cer Cen­ter of­fers an on-line tool called “When Should I Start Hav­ing Mam­mo­grams” at www. can­cer.dart­mouth.edu. It helps women con­sider the facts be­fore they sit down to talk to their health care provider. If a woman does not have a reg­u­lar health care provider or health in­sur­ance, pro­grams in each state can help qual­i­fied in­di­vid­u­als re­ceive free screen­ings in their lo­cal community.

Mary J. Grimes, Kelly Goulet, mam­mog­ra­phy co­or­di­na­tor, Colleen Doty, Su­san Maxwell-Thomp­son, chief tech­ni­cian, and Lianne Kramer are part of the team of cer­ti­fied ra­di­ol­ogy tech­ni­cians in North Coun­try Hospi­tal’s state-of-the art dig­i­tal mam­mog­ra­phy suite.

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