Breast Cancer Awreness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which serves as an annual reminder of all of the brave individuals who have been affected by this disease, as well those who have overcome it. This yearly reminder is an important time to reflect on the statistics, and what we can do to best combat breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. For women in the U.S., breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death, second only to lung cancer. Fortunately, the overall death rate from breast cancer has decreased by 1.0% per year from 2015 to 2021. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances and earlier detection through screening.

It is recommended that women of all ages do a breast self-exam to check for lumps once a month. A physician may also perform a breast exam at annual wellness checks. If there is any abnormal pain, or a lump is detected, the physician will recommend a diagnostic mammogram.

Mammograms detect approximately 87% of all breast cancers and have significantly decreased the number of deaths due to the disease. If you are a woman age 40 years of age or older, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them. Kayla Mehlhaf, CNP at the Viborg Medical Clinic, says, “With breast cancer, there’s a misconception that if you feel fine, don’t have a lump, and have no family history of breast cancer, you’re okay. The truth is that three quarters of the women in whom we find breast cancer have no risk factors. So screening is important for everyone.”

The earlier breast cancer is detected, the higher the chance of remission. There are several factors that can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer, and the first step in the fight against breast cancer is having an annual screening mammogram. Mammography is currently the gold standard for detecting breast cancer. It is understood that the exam can be mildly uncomfortable, however, we believe it is well worth it to endure a few moments of discomfort to live a long, healthy life.

Pioneer Memorial Hospital partners with the Sanford Breast Health Institute to receive digital mammogram imaging services at our facility in Viborg. These screenings can help detect early changes in breast health. With low-dose X-rays, the trained mammography technologists capture images that detect lumps, changes in tissue or calcifications too small to be found by physical exam. Each mammogram is read by a radiologist who provides results to patients and referring physicians.

The best protection is early detection. Early detection saves lives! For more information, visit our website at or call 605-326-5161 to schedule your next mammography appointment.

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