From an Expert and a Survivor: Don't Delay This Vital Screening

Regular breast cancer screening is key to catching the disease early, when there are more treatment options and, in general, better outcomes. “As women, we need to be proactive about taking care of our health, for ourselves and for our loved ones,” says Mary Knoedler, MD, a former staff radiologist at TriHealth's McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital. “And having an annual screening mammogram is one of the best ways we can do that.”

One in eight women will have breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and most of them won’t have a family history of the disease. “The simple fact that you have breasts and female hormones puts you at risk,” says Dr. Knoedler.

She advises following the American College of Radiology guidelines, which recommend that women of average risk have a yearly screening mammogram beginning at age 40. “Women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors may be advised by their doctors to start screening at an earlier age,” says Dr. Knoedler. Some women might be tempted to skip this year’s mammogram because of COVID-19- related concerns. “As a physician and a breast cancer survivor, I highly recommend all women continue screening,” says Dr. Knoedler. “My cancer was detected after I had an “all-clear” the year before. If I’d skipped a year, my diagnosis would have been delayed. Getting a mammogram yearly is the best way you can take care of yourself.”

Breast Cancer By the Numbers

  • 98.9%: 5-year survival rate for stage 1 breast cancer
  • 40%: Mammography has helped reduce breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 40% since 1990
  • 1 in 6 breast cancers occur in women aged 40-49
  • 75% of breast cancer patients have no family history of the disease
Tags Cancer , Prevention and Early Detection , Women's Health