The Canadian Cancer Society reports that one in nine women are expected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and one in 29 will die from it. For this reason, the British Columbia Cancer Agency encourages all women between the ages of 40 and 79 to have regular mammograms in hopes that early signs of cancer can be caught and prevented. Women 40 to 49 years of age who are asymptomatic are encouraged to have annual mammograms, while women over 50 should be undergoing screening mammograms every two years.
Women 40 to 79 who are asymptomatic can self refer to the Screening Mammography Program in Kamloops to go that step further from the self-preformed physical breast examination.
“Screening Mammography is the Gold Standard for early detection,” explains Dr. Christine Wilson, Medical Director of the Screening Mammography Program of British Columbia. “Seventy per cent of the cancer detected is considered to be early stage cancer, so it is effective.”
A mammogram is a low dose X-ray of the breast. According to Health Canada, the images that seen through a mammographic test can show abnormal growths or changes in breast tissue, before they can be felt leading to earlier detections, fewer treatments and shorter recovery times possible.
Any woman under 40 who is concerned with abnormality of the breast (redness of the skin, a lump that can be felt, some nipple discharge or changes in the skin of the nipple) should schedule an appointment with their doctor for further testing and a diagnostic mammogram.
Wilson explains that a diagnostic mammogram is “an investigation which is directed towards the symptom that (the women) are having.” Results found therein could lead to more concentrated testing and imaging such as ultrasounds. These tests are used to isolate the possible affected areas, leading to more effective treatment geared towards each individual case.
Whether a woman is asymptomatic or showing signs of abnormalities, Kamloops is equipped to properly test and diagnose issues associated with breasts.
Women from Sun Peaks can visit Kamloops’ Screening Mammography clinic located at 300 Columbia Street, Suite 102. Women between 40 and 79 can schedule an appointment either in person or over the phone.