WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)— “Those ladies who are told, there’s something there, they automatically think, it’s breast cancer, I’m going to die tomorrow!”
Finding a lump can be one of the most gut-wrenching moments in a person’s life, but before jumping to grim conclusions, it’s recommended to see a breast health specialist like United Regional’s Ellen Canon, who’s main focus is to put worried minds at ease.
“My breast health navigator nurse roll, is to walk them from the point of an abnormal mammogram,” says Cannon, “so we can catch it at the earliest stage all the way through to the end of their process.”
When a lump is found there are many possible outcomes as to what it can be, other than cancer. In fact, Canon says 78 to 80% of abnormal mammograms result in benign or non cancerous growths. But if it is cancerous, Cannon says there 15 different types of breast cancers to diagnose from and not every patient is treated the same.
“Every person is uniquely treated,” says Canon. “Some people don’t even need chemotherapy or radiation so every depending on the level where they are diagnosed, they’re treated differently. “
Breast cancer is not necessarily a female problem either. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says breast cancer kills 41,000 women and nearly 500 men in the U.S. every year. Just recently Mathew Knowles, father of Beyonce and Solange knowles was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Men do get breast cancer,” says Cannon. “Obviously the percentage is a whole lot less…When a man has a breast cancer, we need to really look at the other females in his life”
The biggest factors for breast cancer are: family history, age and being a female. Other factors include smoking, diet and exercise. While there is still no exact cause for breast cancer, self detection and annual mammograms are the best defense against this disease.
“Breast cancer caught at its earliest stage has a very high cure rate,” says Cannon, “we can cure it and then they can just do checks to make sure it doesn’t come back.”
And the best medicine to help get through breast cancer….hope.
“We’re going to continue on and they’re going to be able to watch their children, grandchildren grow up and we’re just going to get them through this process.”
To set up a consultation with United Regional’s breast health services, click here.