During Breast Cancer Awareness Month
North Country Hospital Offers Simple Message: the Earlier, the Better
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.