October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it's something all women should be aware of at all times, early detection is key to beating the odds and we are joined today by Sherri Dew, CEO and President of Deseret Book, a breast cancer survivor along with her doctor, Dr. Brett Parkinson, Director of Breast Imaging, Intermountain Healthcare.
Sherri's story is a very compelling one because it was on a screening mammogram that her cancer was discovered. Sherri told us, "I can't really take credit for going and getting a mammogram. I had another health issue arise. the doctor sent me repeatedly to get tests. On about the third time down to imaging, I said, you know, it's been a long time since I have had a mammogram, my mother had breast cancer, would you order one for me."
That is when Dr. Parkinson diagnosed her, very microscopic in size. Sherri says, "They caught it so early on me. I didn't have to have chemo, radiation. I experienced the fear, terror, experience of being diagnosed. I had a surgery which wasn't that hard to recover from and I was done."
Dr Parkinson stresses, "What we want to do is detect cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage, which is when it is still confined within the duct. duductile carcinoma. the cure rate is 100%. if we can catch it early, the cure rate is still very high. so what we need to do is tell women that they need to get a mammogram, that they need not fear getting a mammogram."
He then gave us startling statistics, Utah has the second to lowest screening rate in the country. A study conducted at Intermountain Health Care showed the number one reason women gave for not getting a mammogram is because they do not have a family history, therefore believe they are not a risk. Dr. Parkinson wants to point out 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a relative, no family history, they are the first one.
Screening just may save your life. Women should begin at 40 and have an annual mammogram for as long as they are healthy.