Many healthy women are quick to forgo a physical if they’re well, but still carve out time for their annual gynecological exam. That means, barring illness or need for emergency care, OB-GYNs are often the only health care provider many women visit in a given year.
For that and other reasons, gynecologist Patricia Thompson, MD, believes it’s imperative that women understand their own key role in maintaining breast health. “It’s important for women to know their own body,” says Dr. Thompson. “Do self-breast exams, because the earlier we catch breast cancer, the better.”
|Jo Anne never misses her annual mammogram.|
According to Dr. Thompson, women should conduct breast self-exams monthly, and have annual mammograms once they turn 40. Jackie Brown, a certified breast care nurse and the manager of breast services at the Beaufort Memorial Women’s Imaging Center in Beaufort, echoes the need for women to overcome their fear and champion their own breast health.
“Mammograms reduce your risk of dying from cancer by 25 to 30 percent because they detect lumps earlier,” says Brown. “Don’t be afraid to have one done. There’s minimal discomfort, and it’s very quick. We squeeze with love.”
Beaufort Memorial is committed to making breast care simple and fast. Digital mammography with same-day results is available in both Beaufort and Bluffton. Tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, is available at the Women’s Imaging Center.
Beaufort resident Jo Anne Tudor believes Beaufort Memorial’s breast care services are a big bonus to living in the community.
“You’re able to go in and have your mammogram and be moved so professionally and kindly through all the different aspects of your appointment,” she says. “If there’s an issue, it’s addressed while you’re there. You don’t have to wait and come back another day. If they need another view, it’s done while you’re there and it’s read while you’re there. You’re not leaving with a lot of questions.”