About one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Thankfully with advances in technology, like screening mammography, breast cancer can be caught at its earliest, most treatable stage.
However, over the last year and a half, many women delayed or skipped their annual screening mammography. This has led to breast cancers being caught in later, more advanced stages.
To raise awareness of this health concern, the physicians, nurses and employees from the MemorialCare Breast Center at Long Beach Medical Center gathered to create a giant human breast cancer awareness ribbon.
“We always advocate for preventative cancer screening, but this message is more important than ever this year,” says Angela Sie, M.D., medical director, breast imaging, MemorialCare Breast Center, Long Beach Medical Center. “Early detection remains the key to surviving and thriving and screening mammography is the best tool for the early detection of breast cancer.”
Long Beach Medical Center patient, Siitia (Tia) Tuaolo, is a real-life example of the ripple effect of delayed screenings and shared her experience during this special awareness event. Tia was diagnosed with breast cancer during the pandemic. She was only 42. She delayed her mammogram and by the time she was diagnosed, her cancer had already progressed to stage 3.
One night Tia experienced some soreness in her arm, which she attributed to a workout. But while she slept, she turned over, grabbed her chest and felt a large lump.
“Right before I felt the lump, I was in such a healthy phase,” says Tuaolo. “I was working out, eating really good; I had even lost 30 pounds. I felt healthy, I didn’t feel sick, but if I would have had my screening, we probably would have caught it a lot sooner.”
The MemorialCare Breast Center offers the most advanced imaging technology, including tomosynthesis (3D) mammography, to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. Tomosynthesis captures multiple images of the entire breast from different angles to produce high-resolution, 3D images, which provides more accurate results and increases cancer detection rates.
In addition, every mammogram at the MemorialCare Breast Center is read by a team of all female, sub-specialized, dedicated breast radiologists, who focus only on breast care. Research has shown that this focus and experience results in a higher quality, more accurate mammogram.
If a cancer is detected, the MemorialCare Breast Center also offers the latest treatments that not only increase survival, but improve the patient experience and cosmetic outcomes.
As the ceremony came to an end, Dr. Angela Sie expressed one final takeaway for attendees.
If you have been putting off your screening mammogram, or know someone who has, encourage them to make an appointment. We’re here to help women through every step of the mammography process, and if needed their cancer journey.