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Wednesday, December 19 , 2018, 5:57 am | Fair 43º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Dignity Health Reminds Women to Get Annual Breast Exam

­Every year, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital (AGCH), French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) and Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC) — Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals — recognize the significance of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and urge women to schedule their annual breast exams.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of death for women in the United States.

While most people are aware of breast cancer, Dignity Health Central Coast emphasizes the importance of women taking the necessary steps to detect this disease in its early stages, and inspiring others to do the same.

October serves as a gentle reminder of an annual mammogram, but breast health is of great importance all year long.

Early breast cancer usually does not have any symptoms. It is important for women to understand the role of breast self-exams in helping each woman become more familiar with her breasts, which may help identify abnormalities or changes.

It is also essential that women receive their regularly scheduled screening mammograms beginning at age 40 and continuing annually.

Mammograms catch up to 90 percent of breast cancers, even before symptoms appear, and breast cancers caught in their earliest stages have a 98 percent survival rate.

If there is a family history of breast cancer, consulting a physician regarding the appropriate age to begin screenings could be life-saving.

Dignity Health has partnered with several local organizations to offer free screening mammograms year round to those who may otherwise not afford them.

“During the month of October, we take extra care to highlight the importance of breast screening and early breast cancer detection, and we encourage women to make it a priority to schedule their annual breast exam,” said Katherine Guthrie, regional director of oncology, Dignity Health Central Coast.

“We continue to see advancements in care, and are proud to offer the latest imaging capabilities and cancer treatments available for our Central Coast residents,” she said.

Dignity Health Central Coast offers the latest in breast imaging technology, GE’s SenoClaire Breast Tomosynthesis.

This three-dimensional imaging detector delivers high-quality digital imagery at a low dose, delivering greater accuracy in determining the size, shape and location of any breast abnormalities.

This innovative breast imaging equipment captures multiple images of the entire breast, which allows specialized radiologists to see through layers of breast tissue and examine the breast from all viewpoints.

Dignity Health Central Coast also offers the area’s only Nurse Navigator program. When a patient receives a breast cancer diagnosis, it is vital to quickly coordinate all aspects of care.

Highly-skilled navigators guide patients and their families through a cancer journey, serving as an important source of information and support. Qualified nurse navigators are available at no cost to Dignity patients and can:

Help patients understand a cancer diagnosis and treatment options.
Coordinate communication between patients and their health care team.
Inform patients and their families about financial counseling, clinical trials, genetic counseling and other services.
Help patients and their families connect with Dignity’s programs as well as community services.

Schedule a mammogram today by calling the location nearest you:

AGCH Coastal Diagnostic Center, 805-481-4705.

FHMC Women’s Health and Imaging Center, 805-597-6700.

FHMC San Luis Diagnostic Center, 805-542-9700.

MRMC Breast Imaging Center at Mission Hope Cancer Center, 805-346-3490.

— Sara San Juan for Dignity Health Central Coast.


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