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Don’t Just Think Pink in October — Take Action

Soon we will be seeing the color pink out in full force, as the official color of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But has “Think Pink” lost its effectiveness? Woman may be seeing the color, but many are still not taking the action necessary to save their lives. That action means talking to their health care provider about scheduling their mammogram.

“I think we have been repeatedly taught that the sooner we can catch the changes in the breast the better likelihood we can stop the progression,” said Dr. Jessica Ybanez-Morano, director of Women’s Services at Ohio Valley Medical Center, specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Therefore, we can only advocate for preventive care by having yearly mammograms and watching for the early changes. It gives us a better chance of beating breast cancer.”

The American Cancer Society guidelines for early detection of breast cancer state that:

∫ Women age 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so.

∫ Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

∫ Women age 55 and older switch to mammograms every two years, or continue yearly screening.

Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer. All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms linked to breast cancer screening. They also should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a healthcare provider right away.

Dr. Ybanez-Morano says you should work with your physician to determine at what age and frequency you should have a mammogram. “Everyone is different. Cancer doesn’t discriminate and appear at a particular age. These are guidelines to follow, but working with your physician is best when it comes to start and ending ages for mammograms.”

If a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, The Cancer Center at OVMC has oncology nurse navigators who walk with the patient every step of the way. Shawn Ware, R.N., and breast cancer nurse navigator, said, “Routine screening mammograms help us detect breast cancer at the earliest possible stage. Early diagnosis can mean less treatment and improved outcomes. If you understand this, please relay it to every woman you know. Sharing can save a life.”

EORH Outpatient Center in St. Clairsville, 106 Ohio Valley Plaza, offers Walk-In Mammogram Tuesdays from 8:30 until 3:30, Monday-Friday. All you need is your physician’s order. You can also log onto www.ovmc-eorh.com to schedule an appointment with your physician.

A simple X-ray could mean the difference between seeing pink this year, and not being here next year to see the annual fall colors change from brown, orange, and green to bolding blooming into the annual honorary shade of pink.

“Think Pink,” but be proactive and take action by talking to your physician about scheduling your mammogram.

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