ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Elizabeth Wende Breast Care is working to ensure everyone who needs a mammogram has access to one.
With regular mammograms, “you’re going to have a reduction in your mortality risk by as much as 40 percent or more,” Dr. Stamatia Destounis, an Elizabeth Wende radiologist said.
Annual screenings are recommended for anyone with breast tissue over 40-years-old. But, depending on family history, some should evaluate their risk at age 30 with help from their doctor.
Mammograms can be intimidating for many reasons, including the fear of discomfort.
Dr. Destounis urges that it’s important to communicate concerns to your radiologist and technologist.
“The compression is not significantly painful,” Dr. Destounis said. “And if you have very sensitive breasts, we do work with you. Technologists will not compress you more than you can handle.”
Another primary fear is discovering cancer. According to Dr. Destounis, if an individual has cancer, finding it through an annual mammogram reduces the mortality risk.
“[We] have to somehow educate women: we want to find something so it doesn’t turn out to be something you feel two, three, five, six years later,” Dr. Destounis said.
Getting an annual mammogram can benefit more than the individual as well.
“Do it for your family, do it for your mom that you take care of, do it for your children that need you,” Dr. Destounis said.
According to recent research, it’s essential for minority individuals to get screened. In minority groups, instances of breast cancer aren’t as high compared to white populations.
But when comparing the cancers, “when they get a breast cancer it’s going to be larger, it’s going to get more aggressive,” Dr. Destounis said.
Annual screenings are also necessary for transgender individuals. This includes men who have breast tissue, and transitioning women who are developing breast tissue with hormone therapy.
So, when it comes to breast screenings it’s important to be both educated and proactive.
“Let’s not hide, let’s not close our eyes and pretend it’s not there. But, let’s have those conversations and get out there and get your mammogram because it’s life saving,” Dr. Destounis said.
Elizabeth Wende Breast Care is offering screenings for individuals without insurance on Saturday, October 16. Exam results will be given at the appointment, so patients won’t have to wait for a call.
To register, call the center at (585) 442-2190.