Parish hospital promotes breast cancer awareness

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. Each year, more than 211,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women in the United States.

Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast tissue cells. In all parts of the human body cells go through cycles of growth and rest.

When a person’s genes are in good health and working correctly cell growth is kept under control. However, when genes develop an abnormality they may lose their ability to control the cycles of cell growth and rest.

Early detection is the most effective way to fight breast cancer and the most common method of detecting breast cancer is mammography. St. Charles Parish Hospital offers the newest method of breast imaging, Full Field Digital Mammography, in which images are instantaneously downloaded for the radiologist and doctor to view. The result is shorter exam times, better visibility of the breast tissue at the skin line, and lower doses of radiation for patients with dense breast tissue. Computer aided detection (CAD) highlights specific areas of interest within the breast that the radiologist should be alerted to and is used in conjunction with digital mammography.

In addition to digital mammography and computer aided detection, we also utilize the MammoBase Tracking System which tracks a patient from exam to follow-up. The MammoBase system generates lay reports to patients, reminder letters for annual mammograms and notifies physicians when a patient needs to return for a follow-up visit. With this state-of-the-art technology, St. Charles Parish Hospital offers the most advanced breast imaging services available.

In 1992 the United States Congress passed the Mammography Quality Standards Act to ensure that mammography facilities throughout the country are reliable and of the highest standard. St. Charles Parish Hospital’s Mammography facility is accredited by the American College of Radiology.

The American Cancer Society and The American College of OB & GYN recommend that women get a mammogram at age 35, and another one at age 40. Women should get a mammogram every 2-3 years between the ages of 40 and 50, and every year after age 50. According to Shailaja Raj, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., R.E.I, “Women tend to postpone or avoid having an examination because of the discomfort associated with a regular mammogram. With the hospital’s state-of-the-art equipment which makes the exam easier on the patient, this should no longer be a concern.” It is also important that women get a clinical breast exam from a physician and frequently perform breast self-examinations to monitor any changes.

The causes of breast cancer are not fully understood, however, research has identified a number of risk factors which increase a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer which include but are not limited to: having a mother, sister or daughter who has had breast cancer, never having children, having a first child after the age of 30, and being overweight or gaining weight as an adult. If you feel you have these risk factors, you should consult a physician. Some common symptoms of breast cancer include nipple discharge, retraction or indentation of the nipple, breast lump and skin changes. If you notice any of these symptoms you should contact a physician immediately.


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