In the past couple of weeks, social media has seen a flurry of users private messaging requests for their friends to post a red heart on their Facebook wall, without comment, and to send a similar request to all their contacts. The red heart is to signify breast cancer prevention. One social media user and breast cancer survivor, Erin Smith Chieze, shared the “Know Your Lemons” campaign photo titled What Breast Cancer Can Look & Feel Like. This image shows lemons with bumps, peeled skin, and indentations that are representative of symptomatic breast cancer signs. Chieze chose to post the lemons photo because she was frustrated that “red hearts don’t promote awareness.”
Solis Mammography, the nation's largest independent provider of breast imaging services, wants to remind women that by the time a woman presents symptomatic signs, the cancer is often advanced. The only way to catch the disease at its earliest stage is through mammography, and specifically, today’s 3-D mammography (also known as digital breast tomosynthesis.) According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early at stage 0 or stage 1, the 5-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent.
Connie Oliver, vice president, marketing & client relations for Solis Mammography states, “We have pink ribbons, red hearts, lemons, and more, because as women, we recognize how powerful our social media voices can be. We urge women to use their voices and their influence to be really clear with family, friends and followers – urging them to get informed and get screened. Simply put, early detection is about more than saving your life, it’s also about preserving your quality of life.”
With all of the advances in treatment for breast cancer, mammography remains the gold standard for detecting it. Early detection saves lives, improves quality of life, and reduces the cost and risks associated with late-stage diagnosis. Early detection in breast cancer allows the possibility of avoiding chemotherapy, radiation or other invasive treatments.
As compared to a conventional 2-D screening mammogram, which views the breast tissue through only a “top/bottom” or “side/side” compression, the 3-D mammogram provides the radiologist layers and depth to these views, essentially creating thin “slices” of tissue, thus increasing the accuracy of a diagnosis.
Solis Mammography uses five different food types to visualize the benefits of early detection.
- Pea size: Average-size mass found by regular, repeat annual mammograms
- Lima bean size: Average-size mass if found in first mammogram
- Grape size: Average-size mass found by women practicing regular self-exams
- Brussels sprout size: Average-size mass found by women practicing occasional self-exams
- Walnut size: Average-size mass found by woman untrained in self-exams
James Polfreman, CEO and president of Solis Mammography said, “While we applaud the efforts made to increase awareness, we want to see more efforts made in prevention and early detection. Until breast cancer is eradicated, early detection is the only hope we have for a long-term survival rate. 3-D mammography is the best technology available today for early detection of breast cancer.”
In honor of National Cancer Prevention Month in February, Solis Mammography is on a mission to educate women about important decisions regarding breast health. Helping women decide for themselves, here are five facts:
- Mammography is the closest thing we have to a cure.
- If you are 40 or older, you do not need a doctor’s referral for an annual screening mammogram and may pick the imaging facility of your choice. You do not have to be experiencing any symptoms. That freedom means you should put as much care and thought into your decision as you would for any healthcare provider.
- As mandated by the Affordable Care Act, nearly all private insurance carriers already cover the cost of standard 2-D screening mammogram at 100 percent with no out-of-pocket cost regardless of deductible.
- Mammograms are often uncomfortable, but shouldn’t be painful. If you see a breast specialist, who is highly trained in understanding the unique nature of breast tissue, they will understand how much compression is “enough” to get a good picture, but not too much to cause unnecessary discomfort. In fact, 89 percent of Solis Mammography patients (more than 150,000 women) report that they experienced “little to no discomfort” during their mammogram.
- Since January 2015, Medicare covers the full cost of 3-D mammograms. Certain private insurers have added coverage, but only in select regional markets. CIGNA was the first private insurance company to offer coverage for 3-D nationwide (August 2016.)
To sum up, it’s quite simple. Peace of mind and overall wellness come from getting the facts about your breast health – starting with your annual mammogram.
The bottom line is that getting a mammogram is too important to ignore. At Solis Mammography, we’ve worked hard to make it such an exceptional experience, that women won’t avoid getting the mammogram they need. We want to empower women with the knowledge they need to make the right choice for their unique health history. Don’t delay; take care of your breast health today.
Find a location near you:
Solis Mammography Greensboro (Church Street)
1126 N. Church Street Suite 200, Greensboro, NC 27401